Martha CoakleySun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our MyCapture site.
Martha Coakley

Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our MyCapture site.

BOSTON (AP) -- Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has formally filed her opposition to a $30 million rate increase request by Columbia Gas.

Coakley said in her opposition to the rate-hike request filed this week with the state the Department of Public Utilities that Columbia executive spends lavishly, including on the lease of corporate jets and retreats at luxury spas.

Coakley said the natural-gas utility wants to "pass millions more in unwarranted costs on to Massachusetts ratepayers."

She said Columbia has been transferring significant revenues from its operations to its public-utility holding company, Indiana-based NiSource Inc., and to other unregulated affiliates, artificially increasing claimed expenses.

Columbia -- which has about 290,000 customers in the Springfield and Lawrence areas, as well as south of Boston -- has defended the spending.