Natural Gas Company Proposing Non-Gas Rate Increase

9 years 2 weeks 8 hours ago Monday, November 29 2010 Nov 29, 2010 Monday, November 29, 2010 10:05:09 PM CST November 29, 2010 in News
COLUMBIA - Ameren Missouri met with the Missouri Public Service Commission and customers Monday to discuss a proposed rate increase to customers' natural gas bills. Ameren made improvements, repairs and maintenance to its natural gas and paid for it. Now, it's looking to its customers to help pay those costs back.

Gregg Ochoa, a Missouri Public Service Commission representative, said it's not the actual natural gas to increase, but the non-gas items such as maintenance and repairs.

"Companies send some money up front and then come before the commission to recover those costs through rates, and it's part of the checks and balances. The commission staff make sure that those expenditures are prudent," Ochoa said.

70% of gas bills are the actual gas while the remaining 30% comes from repairs, improvements and maintenance. Ameren Missouri has proposed for $11.9 million to help pay for those things. That means it would cost customers an increase of less than $8 per month on their gas bills.

This is still in the preliminary process. The commission needs to review and approve the increase.

Some Columbia customers said this is not a big issue for them.

"If it's improving the lines, if these are old, outdated lines and it's maintenance, so that we can have more efficient service, I don't have a problem with that," Ameren customer, Holly Likos, said.

However, for lower income residents, it may be a problem.

"My concerns are for low-income people, and hopefully there would be some kind of a device to either have people who could afford to contribute to gas bills," Ameren customer, Cricket Dunn, said.

There are formal hearings scheduled for February 7-11. It's more than likely this rate change will not take effect until after the weather warms up again.



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