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Richmond Gas plans $100 million of work on mains

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Natural gas prices

An all new episode of 8@4 features a look at River City Roller Derby, an interview with Charis Jones on the opening of the Sassy Jones space at Short Pump Town Center and a visit to Virginia State and Virginia Union for their homecoming weekends. Those stories and more in this week's episode of 8@4 presented by Massey Cancer Center from the Virginia Wayside Furniture studio.

Richmond Gas Works, the city-owned gas company, plans to spend $100 million over the next five years replacing gas mains and service lines, said April Bingham, Department of Public Utilities director.

It will finance the roughly $85 million cost of 41 projects through the rates it charges, she wrote in a presentation to the City Council’s Government Operations Committee.

A $15 million grant will fund nine more projects.

These are in some of the easternmost reaches of the city, around Mosby and Venable avenues, Lakeside Avenue and Mechanicsville. Richmond Gas Works serves about 120,000 customers in the city as well as Henrico and Chesterfield counties.

Bingham said natural gas prices, which the gas utility has to pass on, dollar for dollar, to customers have soared in recent months.

Gas for delivery this summer and fall, for instance, ranged between $8 and $9 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up from the $2.50 level it was quoted at a year ago.

Buckle up and bundle up, Americans’ utility bills are expected to escalate. Veuer’s Maria Mercedes Galuppo has the story.

In just the past three months, the price nearly doubled from levels just below $5.

Concerns about gas supplies in Europe, depressed amounts of gas in storage in this country and big summertime demand are keeping prices high, her presentation said.

Gas demand used to fall off in the summer, but as natural gas becomes a more important fuel for generating electricity, that pattern is fading.

DPU buys natural gas from four supplies: BP Energy, Municipal Gas Authority of Georgia, The Southeast Alabama Gas Supply District, and Public Energy Authority of Kentucky.

It has storage rights on the TC Energy and Eastern Gas pipeline and storage systems which it uses to balance daily use and to make sure there’s enough gas for heating homes in the winter.

A 2.75% rate increase took effect in July, adding about $2.50 to a benchmark residential monthly bill for 70 ccf (100 cubic feet of gas).

Meanwhile, Richmond’s animal shelter has slashed the number of stray and wild animals it puts to death over the past decade from about 1,500 a year to about 300, Christie Chipps Peters, director of Animal Control and Care, said in her presentation to the committee.

Richmond DPU July 2022 rate increases

Its aim is to save 90% of the 3,000 animals a year that it takes in.

The city agency’s eight officers respond to an average of 30 calls a day — handling everything from stray dogs to animal bites to neglected or abused pets.

They respond to all calls about injured or sick wildlife. They also pick up dead animals from city streets and are called in by police when they find animals need caring as they arrest suspects or respond to homicides.

Paws and effect: New life at Richmond's animal shelter

Christie Chipps Peters visits some of the dogs that were up for adoption in July at Richmond's animal shelter. During her tenure, Peters has prioritized building a network of people willing to foster animals, or take them in on a temporary basis. In 2012, the shelter fostered out 123 animals – but in 2017, the number soared to 1,583.

Richmond has operated a pound since 1902, and the agency takes in every animal in need of care, no matter how ill or difficult to handle.

The shelter itself usually houses 200 animals on any given day.

Its staff of six clean cages and kennels twice daily. They walk dogs in the shelter three times a day.

Their work also includes arranging adoptions and return of pets to owners, as well as placing wildlife with rescue groups.

A part-time veterinarian oversees care.

(804) 649-6948

Twitter: @daveress1


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