The Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has approved a plan by which shareholders of Providence Gas Co., a natural gas local distribution company (LDC), will fund existing low-income assistance programs. The PUC approved the plan as part of settlement agreement in a case involving a new integrated resource plan (IRP) for the LDC.
Funds for the low-income assistance programs will come from gas-cost savings earned by the LDC under new performance-based IRP reforms approved by the PUC. The new IRP program includes a performance-based benchmark mechanism, which allocates any gas-cost savings achieved by the company (em first to cover IRP program costs, then to recover nonfirm margins, and finally to divide equally between shareholders and ratepayers. According to the PUC, widespread opposition to the performance-based reforms softened after the company agreed to cover up to $800,000 in low-income assistance costs during the first year of the plan. Re Providence Gas Co., Docket No. 2025, Feb. 20, 1996 (R.I.P.U.C.).
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