• December 21, 2014

Killeen OKs Atmos Energy rate increase

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Posted: Thursday, October 10, 2013 4:30 am | Updated: 4:19 pm, Wed Feb 19, 2014.

Killeen residents will see a slight increase in their gas bills beginning next month.

Traci Briggs, deputy city attorney, said cities have jurisdiction over natural gas rates from providers in the area. Killeen, along with about 160 other cities, make up an Atmos Energy Steering Committee, which looks at rate increases as a system.

The imposed increase will average about 74 cents a month, but Briggs said that number could vary because it’s based on consumption.

The process for gas rate increases falls under the gas reliability infrastructure program, but Briggs said the steering committee negotiated the implementation of a different program — Rate Review Mechanism — because “it works better.”

“In July, Atmos filed an application to increase their rates under the RRM,” she said. “The filing that they provided asked for an increase of $22.7 million across the whole system. The consultants for our committee looked at the rates and negotiated that rate down to $16.6 million systemwide.”

Briggs said the steering committee also assessed what the increase would be under the gas reliability infrastructure program, and it came out to be about $28 million systemwide.

“It appears that although their request was a little inflated, it is justified that they receive an increase,” she said.

Commercial customers will absorb an average $2.16 per month increase. Industrial and transportation customers will see an increase averaging $53.65 per month.

Briggs said had the council not approved the increase, Atmos Energy likely would have filed under GRIP and the city would have to defend the increase in front of the Railroad Commission on its own and the rates “would likely be higher.”

The agreement has a “most favored nations clause” stating that if Atmos provides another city with a lower price for natural gas, Killeen would get that same lower rate.

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