Ed Robinson, the operations manager of UGI Penn Natural Gas, attended the Feb. 7 Milford Borough Council to explain the claims process for UGI customers who were recently left without power for nearly two days in sub-zero temperatures.
He brought a handout that included the following information:
● Call UGI’s call center at 800-276-2722 to report or file a claim for reimbursement toward the purchase of space heaters and/or other alternative heating expenses, or in the event of damage to property.
● Claims may also be submitted to the claims department by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
● Submit any documents in support of claims, such as receipts.
● A member of the claims department will reach out to customers within 48 hours of filing their claim.
● Any customer who sustained property damage due to frozen pipes, UGI may assign an independent adjuster to assess the damage. However, customers are encouraged to mitigate their own damages, or file a first-party claim with their own homeowner’s insurance carrier, and submit the claim to UGI for review.
● For more information call 800-276-2722 or email at email@example.com.
The outage started in the early hours on Thursday, Jan. 27. UGI crews worked through the night, going from house to house first to shut off gas lines and later turn them back on. Residents waited out the ordeal during a devastating sub-zero cold snap. Power wasn’t restored until 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 28.
A mechanical failure at the station that feeds natural gas into the area left 1,400 Milford area customers without power in late January.
A Feb. 7 letter to customers from UGI president Hans G. Bell said the company is providing a $75 bill credit their residential natural gas bill. “This credit will be processed in the next several days and will appear on your next bill statement,” he said.
“I take this opportunity to acknowledge the inconvenience you experienced as a result of the natural gas outage,” he said.
“I also want to offer my heartfelt thanks to the residents, business owners, and many emergency responders, municipal officials, and others for their patience, understanding, and support they offered during this incident. I was extremely impressed by the community spirit and willingness to help those in need.”
Rate increase request
At the same time, UGI is looking for more money. On Jan. 28, UGI filed a natural gas base rate increase request with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
It proposes to increase its base rates for residential, commercial and industrial customers by $82.7 million annually “to recover ongoing costs related to system improvements and operations necessary to maintain safe and reliable natural gas service.”
If UGI’s entire request is approved, the total bill for a residential heating customer using 73.1 CCF per month would increase from $98.62 to $108.01 per month or by 9.5 percent.
The total bill for a typical commercial heating customer using 28.8 MCF per month would increase from $317.93 to $330.09 per month or by 3.8 percent. For commercial heating customers in the former UGI North rate district, the total bill would increase from $307.00 to $330.09 per month or by 7.5 percent.
The total bill for a typical industrial customer using 92.4 MCF per month would increase from $966.55 to $993.83 per month or by 2.8 percent. For industrial customers in the former UGI North rate district, the total bill would increase from $931.45 to $993.83 per month or by 6.7 percent.
The filing also includes a request for a Weather Normalization Adjustment rate designed to stabilize distribution charges due to weather-related usage changes. UGI says this rate mechanism will allow customers to better manage their energy costs during times of colder or warmer than normal weather. UGI has proposed that this adjustment become effective with the November 2022 billing cycle for residential and certain commercial customers.
The company says its filing includes more $795 million in investments for system infrastructure, facilities and information technology upgrades that are not yet included in current delivery charge rates.
UGI is requesting that the new gas rates take effect March 29. However, the PUC typically suspends the effective date for general base rate proceedings to allow for investigation and public hearings. The PUC proceeding is expected to last approximately nine months, which would delay implementation of the new rates until late October.
Customers may view UGI’s base rate filing materials on the UGI website (ugi.com) by clicking on the “Rate Filing” link on the home page. Customers with questions may also call UGI toll-free at 1-800-276-2722 to receive further information on the proposed rate increase or to find out what actions they make take.