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PSC prepares for a week of Empire Electric hearings


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) will be focusing on a case regarding increased rates for Empire District Electric Company consumers this week, starting with a technical conference tomorrow in the Governor’s Office Building and ending with a public hearing on Friday.

Case ER-2014-0351, regards Empire Electric’s authority to file tariffs to increase electric service rates. Notice was given to the PSC in May that Empire intended to file a case to raise rates for consumers in August 2014. The request sought $24.3 million in additional annual revenue from its Missouri customers, or 5.5 percent, for the cost of complying with environmental regulations. If approved in full, a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt­-hours of electricity per month would see an increase of $9.87 per month to a typical bill of about $125.

Five days after filing, the PSC quickly suspended the increase 120 days plus six months – until July 26, 2015 – for hearings and testimony regarding the increase. Applications to intervene, which allow informational impacted third party involvement, were received from various groups, including the Division of Energy and City of Joplin.

The commission received a full slate of testimony last week, ranging from the Office of Public Counsel to the Division of Energy and the Midwest Energy Consumers Group.

Tomorrow there will be two public hearings in Joplin on the case, and another hearing in Reed Springs will be on Friday.

Judge Kim Burton is presiding over the case.