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Southwest Missouri Utility Denied Increase in Electric Rates

Posted: Nov 2, 2012 4:34 AM by The Associated Press

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JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - State regulators have rejected a southwestern Missouri electric company's request for a rate increase the utility said it needed because of expenses from the Joplin tornado.

Joplin-based Empire District Electric was seeking a refundable, interim increase of about $6.2 million, as part of a larger request to raise annual electric revenues by nearly $31 million. The interim increase would have raised electric bills by about 1.5 percent for the company's 148,000 customers in 16 counties.

The Missouri Public Service Commission on Wednesday voted 3-1 against the increase.

Empire argued it spent nearly $28 million and lost many customers because of the May 2011 that devastated parts of Joplin and some neighboring communities.

But regulators concluded the company failed to show it's facing a financial emergency requiring the extra revenue.

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