CINCINNATI - Following significant investments to make southwest Ohio's natural gas distribution system more reliable and resilient for customers, Duke Energy Ohio today filed a request with its state regulator, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), to review the company's natural gas rates.
These investments include the installation of new infrastructure, including natural gas pipelines, and safety and security improvements to enable a robust system for customers. One of these major infrastructure projects, the Central Corridor Pipeline (CCP), is now operational. The filing date for this rate review was determined in prior regulatory proceedings regarding the in-service date of the CCP.
"We work hard to keep costs as low as possible while providing our customers with increasingly reliable and safe service," said Amy Spiller, president of Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky. "These critical investments strengthen and modernize our system to meet the service needs of our customers today and for decades to come."
Billion-dollar investments over 10 years, not operational costs, main driver for increase
Duke Energy Ohio has invested $1.4 billion in a variety of capital projects across southwest Ohio since it last asked regulators to approve a natural gas base rate increase in 2012. And, in that time, the company has kept costs to operate and maintain its system comparable to 2012 levels.
Some of the company's recent multimillion-dollar capital investments include:
The 14-mile Central Corridor Pipeline project in Hamilton County, constructed in 2021-2022 and placed into service in March of 2022. The project balances the supply of natural gas on the delivery system and facilitates the ability to upgrade existing older pipelines without interrupting natural gas service to customers. The project's technology advances also enable retirement of an older propane storage facility.
The Winton Road Regulator Station, constructed in 2018-2019 in the College Hill area. Benefits of the project included bringing regulator equipment above ground to prevent water infiltration into the vault with Duke Energy equipment. This project also improved gas pressure on the system and improved functionality of the replacement regulator station.
The Line D pipeline project, which involved the replacement of 3.5 miles of distribution line along Kellogg Avenue in 2017.The original pipeline was constructed in 1948 and had reached the end of its useful life. The new pipeline was constructed with state-of-the-art materials and making the pipeline more reliable for customers.
Impact on customers' bills
As part of its request, Duke Energy Ohio seeks approval to increase its current natural gas base rates by approximately $48.8 million. The company delivers natural gas to over 450,000 customers in nine counties in Ohio.
Under the company's proposal, residential customers who use an average of 57 Ccf (100 cubic feet) per month will see a $6.08 - or 6.7% - increase on their monthly natural gas bills, from $90.14 to $96.22.
This proposed increase will vary depending on the amount of natural gas a customer uses, a customer's rate type and the prevailing cost of the natural gas commodity.
Since last fall, the Company has been engaged in comprehensive outreach to customers, explaining rising fuel costs and recommendations for both reducing energy consumption and managing monthly bills. Information is available at managing summer bills.
Once the PUCO deems the filing to be complete, they will issue a procedural schedule for upcoming activities associated with the rate review. The process will include opportunities for customers and other stakeholders to learn more about the company's request and provide comments to be included in the docket. Local hearings will also be held for customers to provide input in person. Duke Energy Ohio expects the rate review process to last into summer of 2023.
The company's application and supporting documentation, as well as any other entries related to the review, can be found under Case No. 22-0507-GA-AIR on the PUCO's website.
Duke Energy Ohio/Kentucky
Duke Energy Ohio/Kentucky, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, provides electric service to 880,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in a 3,000-square-mile service area, and natural gas service to 550,000 customers in a 2,650-square-mile service area, in Ohio and Kentucky.
Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America's largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 8.2 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 50,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The company employs 28,000 people.
Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy transition to achieve its goals of net-zero methane emissions from its natural gas business and at least a 50% carbon reduction from electric generation by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The 2050 net-zero goals also include Scope 2 and certain Scope 3 emissions. In addition, the company is investing in major electric grid enhancements and energy storage, and exploring zero-emission power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear.
Duke Energy was named to Fortune's 2022 "World's Most Admired Companies" list and Forbes' "America's Best Employers" list. More information is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos and videos. Duke Energy's illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.
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