Utility With Retail Choice Proposes Optional Carbon Reduction Rider
Proposes Change In Delineation Between Small & Large Customers
August 30, 2021 Email This Story Copyright 2010-21 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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In a new rate case before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, Columbia Gas of Ohio, Inc. has proposed a Carbon Reduction Rider as an opt-in rider that would allow customers to pay
an additional fixed monthly fee to be used toward purchasing carbon offsets
Columbia's proposed Carbon Reduction Rider is $5 per month for customers who opt-in to the rider.
All customers billed by Columbia under rate schedules SGS, SGSS, GS, GSS,
LGS, and LGSS would be eligible to participate
Under the rider, Columbia would work with a third-party vendor to purchase carbon offsets on
behalf of customers who opt-in to the Carbon Reduction Rider. Columbia would
not retain any portion of the fees that customers pay toward the Carbon Reduction Rider
Columbia would work with its vendor to ensure carbon offsets meet one of the
major carbon standards, including the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), the
American Carbon Registry (ACR), the Climate Action Reserve (CAR), or Gold
Standard (GS). Specific projects will be determined based on availability at
the time of carbon offset purchase, but may include, for example, forestry projects or landfill gas combustion projects.
Columbia has also proposed a change in the annual volumetric breakpoint between the
SGS/SGTS/FRSGTS and GS/GTS/FRGTS rate classes from 300 Mcf
per year to 600 Mcf per year.
Service under Columbia’s SGS/SGTS/FRSGTS rate schedules is currently available to all customer accounts that consume less than 300 Mcf per year, and service under its GS/GTS/FRGTS
rate schedules is currently available to all customer accounts that consume at least 300 Mcf per
Columbia said, "This proposed change to the rate schedule applicability provisions for the
SGS/SGTS/FRSGTS and GS/GTS/FRGTS rate classes was made by Columbia to help minimize the number of customers who are transferred each
year between these rate classes based on changes in their annual consumption levels that are identified during Columbia’s Annual Consumption Review. With this proposed change, Columbia anticipates that fewer customers in these rate classes will experience a change in their designated rate
schedule as an outcome of the Annual Consumption Review. This proposed change is expected to reduce the rate impacts experienced by these
customers caused by periodic changes to the level of their gas bills when
they are transferred to a new rate schedule."
In rate case testimony, Columbia said, "For purposes of this rate filing, Columbia has transferred approximately
17,000 customers who currently consume between 300 and 600 Mcf per year
from its GS/GTS/FRGTS rate schedules to its SGS/SGTS/FRSGTS rate schedules. These transfers were made to reflect the appropriate rate schedule
for these customers and Columbia computed its proposed revenues and
rates assuming these customers would be served under the
SGS/SGTS/FRSGTS rate schedules. With this one-time transfer of customers, Columbia expects that it will greatly reduce in the future the number of
customers in the SGS/SGTS/FRSGTS and GS/GTS/FRGTS rate classes who
will have to be transferred each year to a new rate schedule."
The Retail Energy Supply Association said, in a motion to intervene that, "Columbia
Gas proposes to add language in numerous parts of its tariff that would effectively sanction
'revenue guarantees' for the utility when a customer has one or more competitive alternatives
available – including alternative supply offers from competitive suppliers."
RESA cited various language from numerous tariff sheets. Generally, the language provides that, under certain service classes, "When a
Customer can demonstrate to the Company [Columbia] and requests that a charge lower than the maximum delivery charge is
necessary because of competition from a pipeline, distribution system or non natural gas fuel source, then the Company
may charge a rate lower than the maximum delivery charge for all deliveries, and may also include a revenue guarantee,
adequate assurance of payment, and any other commercially reasonable terms mutually agreed upon by Company and