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Gas Pilot Programs Gain Steam

Fortnightly Magazine - October 1 1997

pilot residential unbundling program that will run through the upcoming heating season. The company plans to enroll approximately 19,000 small commercial and residential customers in a targeted service territory, allowing those customers to choose among competitive gas suppliers. The utility will deliver supplies under individual transportation-aggregation agreements reached with qualified suppliers. The utility will remain responsible for service issues, such as turning on service, end of service and gas service emergencies. Re Pa. PUC v. National Fuel Gas Distr. Corp., Docket No. R-00973974, June 12, 1997 (Pa.P.U.C.).

The commission also has authorized Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania to expand its existing small commercial and residential unbundling pilot program. The LDC had initiated the program in a single county in 1996 and had enrolled approximately 5,400 of the 37,000 eligible customers. The program expansion will permit an additional 100,000 residential customers and 10,000 small commercial customers to choose an alternate gas supplier.

Key elements of the original program had assigned firm transportation capacity to marketers, but had reserved storage for the gas utility to use to balance customer deliveries and requirements. The utility would also offer consumer protections and conduct education programs on consumer choice. The commission also authorized the company to test a "capacity assignment" service offering and to establish a special transportation rate for small customers with less than 600,000 cubic feet annual throughput. Re Pa. PUC v. Columbia Gas of Pa. Inc., Docket No. R-00973997, June 12, 1997 (Pa.P.U.C.). t

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