Maryland Commission set two public hearings on proposed gas rate hike
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Maryland Commission set two public hearings on proposed gas rate hike

May 14, 2024

The state commission that regulates electric and gas utilities has scheduled two public hearings this month in Western Maryland regarding Columbia Gas’ proposed roughly $15-a-month hike to residents’ natural gas bills.

Columbia Gas of Maryland said the increase is “necessary to recover the costs of the company’s increased investment in the replacement of leak-prone pipelines, and increased operation and maintenance expenses,” according to a release from the Maryland Public Service Commission.

The company, a subsidiary of the Indiana-based NiSource Inc., provides natural gas distribution services to 34,000 customers across Allegany, Garrett and Washington counties.

“Some current pipeline replacement efforts in Washington County include projects that have started or will soon start on Elgin Boulevard, Prospect Street, and Memorial Boulevard,” said Columbia Gas Director of Communications Russell Bedell, in an email.

He said the company conducts leak inspections over the entire system each year and replaced all known cast iron pipe in Maryland by the end of 2020.

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The public has several opportunities for comment on the residential rate increase of an estimated $14.73 per month.

Chief Public Utility Law Judge Chuck McLean is scheduled to preside over a public comment hearing in the Conference Room of the Holiday Inn Express & Suites at 241 Railway Lane in Hagerstown on Tuesday, Aug. 22 at 7 p.m. The next day, the judge is scheduled to preside over a hearing in Cumberland at the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, 21 N. Wineow St., also set for 7 p.m.

Written comments will also be accepted, according to the release from the Public Service Commission. They can be submitted electronically through the online portal at

Comments can also be sent by mail and should be addressed to: Executive Secretary of the Maryland Public Service Commission Andrew Johnston at William Donald Schaefer Tower, 6 St. Paul Street, 16th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21202.

Comments should reference Case No. 9701. Comments will be accepted until Sept. 6.

Dwight A. Weingarten is an investigative reporter, covering the Maryland State House and state issues. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @DwightWeingart2.