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PSC sets hearing dates in Empire cold snap complaint case 

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri’s Public Service Commission (PSC) is set to consider a complaint case against the Empire District Gas Company over its handling of February’s cold snap next year. 

Symmetry Energy Solutions, a Texas-based natural gas provider, filed a complaint with the commission in August alleging Empire demanded Symmetry pay more than $11 million in Operational Flow Order penalties or lose access to Empire’s supply in the wake of the winter storm. The commission previously denied Empire’s request to resolve the dispute without a hearing and approved a procedural schedule during Wednesday’s agenda meeting, setting evidentiary hearing dates for July and August.  

The PSC also scheduled a public hearing in February over Empire’s request for a general rate increase. The company sought to increase its revenue by about $1.32 million, though several groups —including Symmetry — applied to intervene in the case. 

Evergy Missouri was ordered to continue filing status reports through December 2022 on its agreement with technology company Elliott Management, Inc. to facilitate Evergy’s transition to sustainable energy. The agreement, reached last year, made changes to Evergy’s board and created a committee tasked with evaluating methods to increase shareholder value. The reporting period was initially set to conclude this month. 

Summit Natural Gas applied to alter its Purchased Gas Adjustment (PGA) tariff based on changes in the cost of natural gas since its last adjustment. Evidentiary hearings were scheduled for July and August to allow the commission to gather input from affected customers.  

Spire Missouri’s PGA is also before the commission. Spire sought a protective order shielding trade secrets and commercial information from discovery in the case. The application noted some participants in the case were also part of active legal proceedings around the Spire STL Pipeline. Its application was also approved Wednesday. 

The commission also granted Liberty Utilities a certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) to acquire and operate a water and sewer system in Bolivar. The city agreed to transfer its services to Liberty after the city approved it at the ballot last year, and commission Staff recommended its approval last month. Liberty was ordered to use calculations provided by Staff to set its rates for new customers. 

Missouri-American Water Company was granted finance authority to issue long-term debt to the Department of Natural Resources through a mortgage on its property capped at $11.5 million. Missouri-American reported nearly $750 million in long-term debt and $71 million in short-term debt on the books it sought to cover.    

The next PSC agenda meeting is scheduled for Dec. 15.