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PSC approves agreement reached in Liberty Natural Gas rate case

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. The Missouri Public Service Commission has approved an agreement reached by parties in a natural gas rate case filed by The Empire District Gas Company d/b/a Liberty (Liberty). Under the agreement, Liberty will increase annual natural gas revenues by approximately $1 million. For the average residential customer, natural gas rates will increase by approximately $1.50 a month.

“The revenue increase approved by the Commission is no more than what is sufficient to keep Liberty’s utility plants in proper repair for effective public service and provide to Liberty’s investors an opportunity to earn a reasonable return upon funds invested,” said the Commission.

When Liberty filed its rate increase request on August 23, 2021, it sought to increase annual natural gas revenues by approximately $1.36 million. This is the first general natural gas rate increase for Liberty since April 1, 2010.

This rate case generally reflected “non-gas” costs. “Non-gas” costs are operating and maintenance expenses in providing natural gas to customers in a safe and useful form. It also includes a return on investment in plant (such as meters, mains, and service lines that deliver natural gas to your home or business). The actual cost of the natural gas is NOT a part of this rate case. The wholesale cost of natural gas is unregulated. The Public Service Commission reviews the natural gas purchasing practices of Liberty to ensure prudent decisions are made in securing natural gas supplies for its customers.

Under the agreement approved by the Commission:
– Liberty’s Low-Income Weatherization Program will continue.
– There will be no change to the residential monthly customer charge. It will remain at $16.50 a month.
– Liberty will modify its Experimental Low-Income Program; re-branded as the Low-Income Affordability Program.
– Liberty will combine the Energy Star® Water Heating and Energy Star® Space Heating programs into a re-branded High-Efficiency Appliance Rebate Program and will add two new programs: the Liberty Energy Education Program and the Energize Liberty Homes Program.
– There will be a Critical Needs Program developed. This program will be developed in conjunction with the Critical Needs Program in its most recent Liberty electric rate case.

Liberty serves approximately 44,000 natural gas customers in the Missouri counties of Cooper, Henry, Johnson, Lafayette, Morgan, Pettis, Platte, Ray, Saline, Vernon, Chariton, Grundy, Howard, Linn, Atchison, Holt, Nodaway, Andrew, and Livingston.