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Saturday May 30th, 2015 6:21AM

PSC approves improvements to AGL pipeline, increase in rates

By Staff
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ATLANTA - Atlanta Gas Light has received regulatory approval to install new pipelines and other facilities to improve capacity and pressure in Hall, Dawson, Forsyth, Gwinnett and other "high-growth" counties in Georgia. With this action, comes an increase in rates for AGL customers.

The state Public Service Commission (PSC) voted unanimously recently to accept a staff-negotiated settlement approving the second phase of the company's STRIDE program (Strategic Infrastructure Development and Enhancement).

"Over the next four years, we will invest approximately $215 million to improve our core transmission and distribution facilities in several metro-Atlanta counties to minimize the risk of our customers experiencing service disruption during periods of extreme cold weather," said Bryan Batson, president of Atlanta Gas Light.

Started in 2009 as part of a 10-year system reinforcement program, the first phase of STRIDE expended $254 million to improve capacity and pressure in the heart of Atlanta and Riverdale and in Cherokee, Cobb, North Fulton, and Forsyth counties. A new supply point also was added by the company by tapping into an interstate gas line in Newnan.

The PSC also recently approved a $46 million expansion of AGL's Customer Growth program to expand the natural gas system into communities throughout the state that are currently unserved or underserved. including several in the Northeast Georgia mountains.

System extensions in the first phase of the program were $45 million and included an industrial area in Bryan County in the Savannah area, residential areas of Lake Sinclair, Grovetown in Columbia County, and the mountainous communities of Cleveland and Helen in White County, and Ellijay and Blue Ridge in Gilmer and Fannin counties.

The STRIDE program extension will increase customer bills by $0.48 beginning in January of 2015, an additional $0.48 in January of 2016, and $0.47 in January of 2017. Since 1998, AGL officials say, changes in rates, including the latest action, have remained at or below the rate of inflation.
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