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PSC approves Empire fuel rate increase 

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri’s Public Service Commission (PSC) approved increases to The Empire District Gas Company’s Purchased Gas Adjustment (PGA) factor after the company reported a shift in the cost of natural gas.

Empire issued tariff sheets reflecting the rising cost, requesting a slight increase in rates to account for it. The company submitted its paperwork the day after it was initially due and requested a waiver of the PSC’s deadline requirements — which commissioners said was unnecessary. Staff supported the updated PGA, and the commission approved the new paperwork on an interim basis subject to refunds during Tuesday’s agenda meeting. 

Empire also requested authority to adjust rates under its Fuel Adjustment Clause (FAC). The commission approved the true-up amount for the second recovery period in the agreement last week and requested a variance from commission rules mandating a 60-day notice before rate adjustments. 

Staff objected to the requested variance, saying the company had not complied with similar commission rules in the past. The parties filed a stipulation and agreement retaining the 60-day notice requirement which the PSC approved.  

The Missouri-American Water Company sought approval from the commission to change its Infrastructure System Replacement Surcharge (ISRS). The company requested authority to change its ISRS for replacements handled between April and September of this year, and Staff recommended an incremental rate increase — which the Office of Public Counsel (OPC) objected to — arguing the company did not experience a net operating loss over the period. 

The parties reconciled their calculations, and the PSC approved the request, stipulating Missouri-American would stop collecting ISRS fees once the revenue cap in the company’s original program agreement was met. 

The commission extended the proceedings for a complaint case filed by the Anchor’s Point Condominium Owners Association against several local entities, which it stated were operating water services without the commission’s approval. The parties requested a delay in the evidentiary proceedings to try to reach a compromise and were ordered to file a report with the commission by March 31, 2021.

Finally, Ameren Missouri requested accounting authority to create an electrification pilot program, suggesting an effective date of Nov. 30. Staff recommended suspending the company’s submitted tariff sheets until more information is available. The PSC ordered the suspension through Feb. 22, 2021 while Staff considers a procedural schedule for the case. 

The next agenda meeting is scheduled for Dec. 2. While the Governor’s Office Building is set to reopen at the end of December, Chairman Ryan Silvey told The Missouri Times the commission had no plans to resume in-person agenda meetings for the foreseeable future.