A potential safety concern for Columbia Gas of Ohio customers has been resolved through the company’s Riser Safety Program, which concluded on June 30, Columbia announced today. Crews have replaced more than 317,000 risers around Ohio since the project began in 2008.
“We made a commitment to our customers to resolve this concern, and I’m proud to say that we’ve delivered,” said Columbia Gas President Jack Partridge. “This is the biggest project of its kind our company has ever tackled,” he continued, “but we’re completing the work right on schedule and at a much lower cost than originally estimated.”
A riser connects the natural gas service line near the street to a building’s gas meter. A report to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) determined that some types of risers may leak if improperly installed. Columbia Gas did not install these risers, and they were owned by the customer, not the company. However, in response to a request by the PUCO, Columbia developed a program to identify and replace these risers throughout the company’s service area.
The Riser Safety Program’s final cost will be approximately $145 million, about one-third less than originally forecast. Gains in efficiency in each of the program’s three years helped hold down costs. The work included replacing the riser, performing a safety inspection and then relighting appliances.
“I’d like to thank our crews for the hard work they put in – even during the coldest days of the winter – to get this work completed,” said Partridge. Most of the employees and contractors working on the riser program will now shift to other portions of the company’s infrastructure program. Columbia has committed to spend $2 billion over 25 years to replace and upgrade its natural gas distribution system throughout the state.
Columbia Gas of Ohio, with headquarters in Columbus, is one of the seven energy distribution companies of NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI). With approximately 1.4 million customers in 61 of Ohio’s 88 counties, it is the largest natural gas utility in the state. NiSource distribution companies serve approximately 3.8 million gas and electric customers primarily in seven states. More information about Columbia Gas of Ohio is available at: ColumbiaGasOhio.com.