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Columbia Gas Files New Rates with DPU

WESTBOROUGH —  Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, a subsidiary of NiSource Inc., recently filed a petition with the Mass. Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to increase annual revenues by $24.1 million, representing a 3.9% increase in current operating revenues. If approved by the DPU, the change would impact the annual gas bill for a typical residential heating customer by an average of $4.95 per month, or 3.6%. The revised rates take effect March 1, 2019. In the first year after the rates take effect, the $9.1 million refund due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will reduce the customer bill impact to an average of $2.80 per month, or 2%. The request addresses increases in operating and maintenance costs incurred to comply with increasingly stringent federal and state regulatory mandates and capital costs incurred to upgrade gas infrastructure since the last time Columbia Gas changed its rates in 2016. The DPU decision is expected by Feb. 28, 2019, with rates taking effect March 1, 2019.

Farmington Bank Offers Assistance to Homebuyers

FARMINGTON, Conn. — Farmington Bank announced it has been selected to participate in the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston’s Equity Builder Program (EBP), which assists local homebuyers with down-payment and closing costs as well as homebuyer counseling and rehabilitation assistance. The EBP provides grants to financial institutions to assist households at or below 80% of the area median income. Farmington Bank is eligible to receive up to $110,000 in 2018 through the EBP, depending on availability of funds. Farmington Bank borrowers are eligible to receive up to $11,000 in assistance for homes located in Massachusetts and Connecticut on a first-come, first-served basis. Buyers must also complete a homebuyer counseling program.  In addition, Farmington Bank offers a variety of affordable lending programs that have lower down-payment requirements and closing costs, including special mortgage financing for first-time homebuyers and veterans. Since 2003, the EBP has awarded more than $35 million in EBP funds, assisting 3,150 income-eligible households to purchase a home.

Grant to CHD Improves Opportunities for Children with Disabilities

SPRINGFIELD — The ATI Foundation recently present CHD’s Disability Resources program with a $5,000 check. The program offers barrier-free recreational and competitive opportunities for people of all skill levels and age groups, as well as their family and friends. The program emphasizes access and ability. Rock climbing, waterskiing, sled hockey, dance, wheelchair basketball, and other programs and services designed for individuals with physical and/or intellectual disabilities are offered to more than 500 children, teenagers, and young adults each year. According to Sharon Franceschini from the ATI Foundation, when the possibility of funding CHD’s Disability Resources program was presented, it was a quick decision. “The CHD Disabilities Resources program was brought to our attention by the therapists and staff who live and work in the Greater Springfield community,” she said. “The mission of the ATI Foundation is directly aligned with what CHD’s Disabilities Resources is doing for kids every day. We are thrilled to support the Springfield community in this way and hope that the resources make a big difference in the lives of physically impaired children for years to come.”

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