Chattanooga Gas Company is requesting a rate increase. The company on Friday filed a financial review of its 2019 revenues, operational costs and investments in critical system enhancements with the Tennessee Public Utility Commission. As required by a settlement approved last year by the TPUC in the Chattanooga Gas Annual Review Mechanism docket, this annual process adjusts rates upward or downward depending upon numerous factors occurring in the previous year.
The current filing requests rate adjustments due to investment initiatives that strengthened the safety and reliability of the region’s pipeline infrastructure, supported residential customers’ increasing demand and provided greater capacity to high-growth residential, commercial and industrial areas, said officials.
“Undergoing a required financial review during the coronavirus health crisis is not something we enter into lightly,” said Bryan Batson, president of Chattanooga Gas. “Out of respect to our customers, we delayed the process for nearly two months, allowing all parties involved in the regulatory rate review time to focus on supporting community relief efforts. We are mindful of the impacts this situation has had on our customers and are doing all we can to alleviate the burden that both COVID-19 and the recent tornado have placed on the region, but regulatory requirements dictate that we must move forward.”
In 2019, the Chattanooga region experienced significant growth. Chattanooga Gas provided the infrastructure needed to attract new business, help the snack food and automotive industries thrive and enable residential communities to expand, said officials.
To minimize impact on customers’ bills, Chattanooga Gas is proposing accelerating the return of credits stemming from the 2017 federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to customers. The different tax savings from the TCJA would have been spread over multiple years, but Chattanooga Gas is proposing crediting all savings to customers in 2020. This allows customers to receive the benefit of the tax savings sooner and offsets a portion of the bill increase related to the ARM filing.
Since 2010, natural gas bills in Chattanooga have actually gone down. Even with the proposed increase, which would raise bills by $3.26/month, the typical residential customer’s total average bill would be 4.13 percent less than a decade ago.
“We remain committed to making prudent decisions around providing clean, safe, reliable and affordable service to our customers,” said Mr. Batson. “We have been very deliberate in making necessary investments in our system to ensure we meet the unprecedented demands of our growing community. We look forward to working with the TPUC to ensure our system can sustain this growth while still providing customers with affordable natural gas service.”
A decision on the proposal is expected in September. Any new rate adjustments likely would go into effect in October. For more information about rates, visit www.chattanoogagas.com/residential/pricing-and-rate-plans.html.