Nicor Gas Co. said Illinois regulators have approved a tariff that will allow the company to recoup millions in pipeline infrastructure investments across the northern part of the state.

Naperville, IL-based Nicor, a subsidiary of AGL Resources Inc., said the Qualifying Infrastructure Plant (QIP) tariff will allow it to replace hundreds of miles of aging distribution lines and thousands of natural gas services. The company also plans to upgrade gas transmission and storage systems and refurbish regulating stations.

The upgrades are part of a nine-year initiative scheduled to begin in 2015. Nicor said infrastructure investments for 2015 alone are expected to be $171 million.

Nicor said the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) gave approval to the QIP tariff on Thursday. The company filed for ICC approval of the tariff under the state's Natural Gas Consumer, Safety & Reliability Act, which Illinois enacted in 2013 when it passed SB 2266 (see Daily GPI, May 31, 2013).

Under the QIP tariff, Nicor will recover costs through a cost-controlled adjustment on customer bills. The company said average residential customers will see a maximum increase of approximately 75 cents to their monthly bills in 2015.

"Our first priority at Nicor Gas is safety, and we are pleased to have the opportunity to accelerate the repair, rehabilitation and replacement of Illinois' aging natural gas infrastructure," said Nicor President Beth Reese. "This investment in Illinois will allow us to continue to deliver natural gas safely and reliably to our customers while spurring the state's economic development activities -- bringing jobs, business and investments to our region."

Nicor serves 2.2 million customers in more than 650 communities.

The Natural Gas Consumer, Safety & Reliability Act established a 10-year blueprint designed to reduce non-hazardous leaks and trim maintenance costs while delivering long-term savings for customers.