Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Atlanta Gas Light STRIDES Forward with Pilot Program Designed to Encourage Economic Growth

/PRNewswire/ -- Atlanta Gas Light received approval from the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) today on a new program designed to encourage economic growth and spur the addition of new customers under the Georgia Strategic Infrastructure Development and Enhancement Program or (STRIDE). The new program will not increase monthly rates to consumers, but instead will be collected through the existing STRIDE surcharge for an additional three years.

The program, known as the Integrated Customer Growth Program or i-CGP, will allow Atlanta Gas Light to invest up to $45 million to extend its pipeline facilities to serve customers without pipeline access. The new program will also allow Atlanta Gas Light to install pipelines to create new economic development corridors in order to help spur growth.

The new line extension program under i-CGP is available for both residential and commercial customers. Currently many customers that want natural gas service and who are not located near an existing pipeline are required to make a cash payment to have service established. This has been a significant disincentive, particularly under the current economic conditions. The i-CGP program will reduce or eliminate this requirement for many potential customers.

The new strategic corridor development program will allow Atlanta Gas Light to make major investments to extend its gas distribution facilities to areas where growth is forecasted, or to locations where existing development does not have access to natural gas. This will be a new resource that will allow Atlanta Gas Light to work with state and local economic development officials to attract new business, with the potential of bringing jobs to Georgia.

"The Georgia Public Service Commission has given Atlanta Gas Light a new regulatory framework to restore growth on our system and help keep the pressure to increase rates down," said Suzanne Sitherwood, president, Atlanta Gas Light. "It also allows us to be a partner to spur economic development in more communities throughout the state where natural gas service is not presently available."

To avoid an increase in monthly rates due to the program, i-CGP will extend the duration of the STRIDE program by three years.

Atlanta Gas Light received approval from the PSC for its STRIDE program in October. STRIDE will install new pipeline and liquefied natural gas facilities throughout metro Atlanta to improve system reliability and operational performance on peak demand days. The first three year construction program of $175.7 million is underway and should be completed by 2012.

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