Archive for Thursday, September 20, 2007

Atmos asks for gas rate hike

September 20, 2007

Atmos Energy Corporation filed Sept. 14 with the Kansas Corporation Commission for an overall increase of $5 million in the annual revenues of its Kansas natural gas utility operations. Atmos Energy had not filed for a rate increase since 2003.

"It has been more than four years since our Kansas operation has requested a rate increase," said Gary Schlessman, president of Atmos Energy's Colorado-Kansas Division. "Since that time, we have made considerable investments and our operating costs have increased."

If approved, the average monthly bill for residential customers in Kansas will increase $3.90 per month or 19 percent. For commercial customers, the increase in the average monthly bill will be $10 or a 15 percent increase.

"One of the important aspects of this rate case is the expeditious implementation of automated meter reading as proposed in the Advanced Metering Infrastructure tariff rider," Mike DeArmond, vice president of operations in Kansas, said.

"This would allow Kansas customers to more closely and accurately monitor their consumption habits and make informed decisions that will help them conserve natural gas use, while at the same time improving meter reading accuracy, and reducing meter reading related injuries and accidents.

"If this aspect of the rate case is approved, our customers will gain a very valuable tool that, coupled with other energy savings tools that are on the Atmos Energy Web site, will help them manage their energy use and allow them to immediately see the impact of their decisions."

Another change includes the addition of a Gas System Reliability Surcharge tariff rider that is being added, DeArmond said.

"This is the result of 2006 Kansas legislation that allows gas utilities to recover the costs associated with mandated safety projects and non-reimbursed facilities relocations associated with public roadway projects," he said. "No surcharge is being proposed at this time, but this will be available for future needs."

Atmos Energy serves about 124,000 natural gas customers in 108 communities in Kansas.

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