JEFFERSON CITY---Natural gas rates will change in January for customers of Liberty Utilities (Midstates Natural Gas) Corp. d/b/a Liberty Utilities (Liberty Utilities) under a decision reached in a rate case filed by the natural gas company in February.
The Missouri Public Service Commission decision authorizes Liberty Utilities to increase annual natural gas revenues by approximately $4.87 million effective for service on and after January 4, 2015.
Liberty Utilities’ rate case filed on February 6, 2014, reflects the company’s non-gas costs. Non-gas costs are operating and maintenance expenses and a return on investment in plant (such as natural gas mains and service lines that carry natural gas to the customer’s home or business). The rates that wholesale suppliers charge Liberty Utilities for natural gas are not regulated by the Missouri Public Service Commission and are collected through the Purchased Gas Adjustment and appear separately on the customer’s bill.
The Commission’s decision reflects the natural gas company’s increased costs of providing service to its customers. When the natural gas company filed its $6.3 million request on February 6, 2014, Liberty Utilities stated the proposed increase was necessary generally to offset or reflect increases in operating costs, the construction of significant new gas service facilities, as well as return requirements on rate base. Base natural gas rates were last changed for Liberty Utilities customers in September 2010.
As part of the decision, the Commission set Liberty Utilities’ return on equity (ROE), or profit margin, at 10 percent.
Under an agreement approved by the Commission in this case, Liberty Utilities will continue its Energy Conservation and Efficiency Programs.
The annual impact of the rate case decision on a typical residential customer in each of Liberty Utilities’ three service areas, as estimated by the PSC Staff, appears below.
Service Area Approximate Annual Increase
Liberty Utilities (formerly Atmos Energy Corporation) serves approximately 53,300 natural gas customers in Missouri. The WEMO service area includes the Missouri counties of Bates, Cass, Henry and St. Clair. The SEMO service area includes the counties of Butler, Cape Girardeau, Dunklin, Iron, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Ripley, Scott, Stoddard and Wayne. The NEMO service area includes the counties of Adair, Clark, Knox, Lewis, Macon, Marion, Pike, Ralls, Schuyler and Scotland.