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PSC approves utilities’ request to extend cold snap cost recovery

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri’s Public Service Commission (PSC) approved several natural gas companies’ efforts to mitigate the impact of February’s cold snap on customers this week.

Liberty Utilities, Spire Missouri East and West, and the Empire District Electric Company requested authority to alter their purchased gas adjustment (PGA) riders to extend their recovery periods beyond 12 months. Each utility noted the wide range of financial impact across different parts of the state impacted by the storms and sought to avoid increasing customer prices by an extraordinary amount over a short period.

The cold weather event struck the midwest in February, leading to unprecedented increases in the cost and demand for natural gas over a week. Companies began coming to the commission with proposals to mitigate the impact on customer bills in March, with most seeking to spread the increase out over the next few years.

The commission approved the requests during Thursday’s agenda meeting. 

Commissioners granted Missouri-American Water Company’s request to alter the connection time and funding percentage requirements for applicants seeking to connect to an extension of its water main in Cottleville. The variance will allow Missouri-American to extend its services to the Cottleville Trails development, which will house more than 500 residences upon completion with more expected in the future. 

The variance will extend the previous deadline imposed by Staff from 120 days to five years to accommodate the second phase of development, which is expected to expand Cottleville Trails by 120 homes. 

Confluence Rivers Utility Operating Company was approved to merge with four providers in mid-Missouri, with Confluence Rivers taking over operations as the surviving company. Combined, the companies provide water service to 9,800 customers and sewer service to 10,600 customers. Confluence Rivers will be required to notify customers of the change before sending their first bill under the merger.

Elm Hills Utility Operating Company was granted a certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) to construct and operate a sewer system in Johnson County. The CCN will allow Elm Hills to expand its coverage to 176 new residential customers in the area. 

The commission will reconvene Friday to discuss Spire Missouri’s general rate case. The next regular PSC agenda meeting is scheduled for Oct. 20.