PITTSFIELD, MA – October 28, 2022 – Berkshire Gas Company, a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc., today announced that it has secured regulatory approval for a revision in its retail rates in an Order issued by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU). The Order, which approved a rate revision of $5.7 million for critical investments in the safety and reliability of the company’s service territory, represents a negotiated settlement between Berkshire Gas and the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General.
“The rate revision approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities represents the strength of our commitment to continued investment in the communities that we provide service while increasing safety and reliability for our customers,” said Berkshire Gas President Sue Kristjansson. “At this time of higher costs across our entire economy, this rate order represents a negotiated compromise that strikes the right balance for our customers and allows us to make critical investments across our entire distribution system.”
The rate revision supports significant benefits for Berkshire Gas customers, including continued investment in system reliability, energy efficiency as well as additional investment in the replacement of aging leak prone facilities along the Company’s distribution system. As part of the rate revision, Berkshire Gas is positioned to hire 11 new personnel dedicated to system safety, integrity, and reliability. These investments are consistent with the Company’s top priority of safety and its commitment to customers to provide uninterrupted reliable service across its 765-mile distribution system in western Massachusetts.
Additionally, the Company has agreed to contribute $125,000 to fund, or assist in funding, programs or initiatives designed to assist Berkshire Gas customers in paying or lowering their natural gas bills. The fund will be administered by the Attorney General’s Office.
Berkshire Gas initially submitted its filing for revised rates on June 24, 2022, seeking a rate increase in the amount of $7.4 million to recover the cost of system investments and additional personnel dedicated to safety and reliability. In lieu of a fully litigated rate proceeding before the DPU, the Company reached a negotiated settlement with the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General, effectively reducing the amount of the Company’s rate request by more than $1.5 million to $5.7 million. As part of that agreement, the Company committed to not seeking any further revision of its retails rates for at least 34 months from the January 1, 2023 effective date of the rate increase, offering important price stability for its customers.
The company last sought a revision of its retail rates in a filing which became effective in 2019, marking the first such rate filing by the Company in more than 17 years.
Under the settlement, rates will increase by 2.93% during the peak winter period and 2.85% in off peak periods for residential heating customers resulting in a monthly increase of $6.99/month during the peak months and $1.32/month during the off-peak months, when the cost of providing service is lower.
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About Berkshire Gas: The Berkshire Gas Company is a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc. Established in 1853 and based in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Berkshire Gas operates 765 miles of natural gas distribution pipeline, serving approximately 40,000 customers across 20 Western Massachusetts communities. For more information, visit berkshiregas.com.
About AVANGRID: AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) aspires to be the leading sustainable energy company in the United States. Headquartered in Orange, CT with approximately $40 billion in assets and operations in 24 U.S. states, AVANGRID has two primary lines of business: Avangrid Networks and Avangrid Renewables. Avangrid Networks owns and operates eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving more than 3.3 million customers in New York and New England. Avangrid Renewables owns and operates a portfolio of renewable energy generation facilities across the United States. AVANGRID employs more than 7,000 people and has been recognized by JUST Capital in 2021 and 2022 as one of the JUST 100 companies – a ranking of America’s best corporate citizens. In 2022, AVANGRID ranked second within the utility sector for its commitment to the environment and the communities it serves. The company supports the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and was named among the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2022 for the fourth consecutive year by the Ethisphere Institute. For more information, visit avangrid.com.