The North Carolina Utilities Commission (UC)has granted authority to Frontier Utilities of North Carolina, Inc., to construct and operate a new natural gas pipeline and distribution system to provide service to four counties in the state. If Frontier meets certain conditions, the UC will then deny a competing application filed by Piedmont Natural Gas Co., Inc., a local distribution company.
In a prior ruling the UC had given Piedmont the option of accepting a certificate to serve the territory if it would agree to a shorter construction schedule financed through investors, rather than by an existing fund for service expansion. After Piedmont refused, the UC reopened the case and found that Frontier planned to serve approximately twice as many customers as Piedmont at an earlier date. The UC acknowledged Piedmont's greater experience and lower rates (lower than those projected by Frontier), but cited the financing method as the key factor favoring Frontier. Re Frontier Utils. of North Carolina et al., Dkt. No. G-38, Docket No. G-9, Sub 357, July 20, 1995.
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