FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- September 09, 2020
Contact: Kevin Kelly (573) 751-9300
New Electric Rates to Take Effect for
The Empire District Electric Company
JEFFERSON CITY---Tariffs reflecting a decision made by the Missouri Public Service Commission in an electric rate case filed by The Empire District Electric Company, a Liberty Utilities Company (Empire), will take effect on September 16, 2020.
The tariffs reflect an electric rate increase of approximately $992,400. For a residential using approximately 1,000 kWh (1,000 kilowatt-hours) a month, electric rates will increase by approximately $0.48 a month (0.37%). When Empire filed its rate case on August 14, 2019, it sought to increase annual electric revenues by approximately $26.5 million. For a residential customer using 1,000 kWh a month, the rate request would have increased electric rates by approximately $7.85 a month.
Empire will continue various energy efficiency and low-income programs as well as the Fuel Adjustment Charge (FAC) under the rate case decision. The FAC adjusts customer bills twice a year (June and December) to reflect increases or decreases in fuel and purchased power costs.
The Commission also addressed Empire customer service issues. At local public hearings held in Bolivar, Joplin and Branson in February, the most frequent complaint regarding Empire’s service involved the number of estimated bills and the difficulty in addressing estimated bills with Empire.
“While the Commission finds that Empire is taking steps to improve its customer service, the Commission believes it is important to monitor Empire’s progress related to meter reading and billing,” said the Commission. The Commission has directed Empire to initiate quarterly reports to the PSC Staff and the Office of the Public Counsel which will include: 1) the number of estimated meter readings; 2) the number of estimated meter readings exceeding three consecutive estimates and 3) Company and contracted meter reading staffing levels. In addition, Empire is to evaluate the authorized meter reading staffing levels and take action to maintain staffing levels in order to minimize the number of estimated customer bills.
Empire serves approximately 155,400 electric customers in the Missouri counties of Barry, Barton, Cedar, Christian, Dade, Dallas, Greene, Hickory, Jasper, Lawrence, McDonald, Newton, Polk, St. Clair, Stone and Taney.