Thursday, June 25, 2015
Public Service Commission approves rate increase for Empire District customers
The Missouri Public Service Commission (Commission) has approved an agreement which authorizes The Empire District Electric Company (Empire) to increase annual electric operating revenues by approximately $17.1 million.
The agreement approved by the Commission was submitted by the company, the Office of the Public Counsel, the Public Service Commission Staff, the City of Joplin, the Missouri Department of Economic Development-Division of Energy and the Midwest Energy Users’ Association. Although not a signatory to the agreement, The Midwest Energy Consumers Group did not object to it. The agreement resolved most of the issues in the rate case.
When Empire filed its rate case with the Commission on August 29, 2014, it sought to increase annual electric operating revenues by approximately $24.3 million.
According to the August 29, 2014 filing, the most significant factor driving the need for a rate increase were costs associated with the installation of the Air Quality Control System (AQCS) at Empire’s Asbury Power Plant. Additional factors included increased operating costs; a new maintenance contract covering the Riverton 12 gas-fired generating unit; an increase in Regional Transmission Organization charges; and increases in property taxes.
As part of its rate request, Empire sought continuation of the Fuel Adjustment Clause (FAC). Under the agreement approved by the Commission, the FAC will be continued with Empire adjusting customer bills twice a year (June 1 and December 1) to reflect any change in fuel and purchased power costs.
Under the agreement approved by the Commission, Empire will continue its current energy efficiency programs as well as its low-income weatherization program.
According to the PSC Staff, a residential customer using 1,000 kWh (1,000 kilowatt-hours) of electricity will see monthly electric bills increase by approximately $7.00. Under the agreement approved by the Commission, the fixed monthly customer charge for residential customers will stay at $12.52 a month.
The Empire District Electric Company serves approximately 149,300 electric customers in the Missouri counties of Barry, Barton, Cedar, Christian, Dade, Dallas, Greene, Hickory, Jasper, Lawrence, McDonald, Newton, Polk, St. Clair, Stone and Taney.