Maryland’s Strategic Infrastructure Development and Enhancement (STRIDE) program provides a cost recovery mechanism to incentivize local gas distribution companies to accelerate improvements in gas infrastructure. Columbia Gas of Maryland (CMD) filed a request to Maryland's PSC to establish its second five-year STRIDE Plan (STRIDE 2) and associated surcharge. For STRIDE 2, CMD proposed to accelerate replacement of bare steel and cast-iron mains from 7.56 miles to 8.5 miles per year. Within its role as a consumer advocate, Maryland's Office of People's Counsel (OPC) intervened in the proceeding on behalf of CMD’s residential consumers and wanted to hire a firm to support its staff with its review of CMD’s proposed STRIDE 2 plan and surcharge recovery mechanism.
DHInfrastructure’s analysis focused on whether the historical leak record of bare steel and cast-iron mains supported the request to further accelerate replacement. We also identified problems with the annual budgets the Company had made for STRIDE 2. We submitted pre-filed testimony that summarized our findings and recommended that PSC deny approval of STRIDE 2 and require CMD to submit a new plan that maintained its current replacement rate. Following a settlement agreement, DHInfrastructure reviewed all documents submitted in compliance with the agreement and submitted pre-filed testimony on behalf of OPC supporting the settlement.