• December 20, 2014

Gas bills might climb in Killeen

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Posted: Friday, October 4, 2013 4:30 am

Atmos Energy customers in Killeen could see an average increase of 74 cents on their gas bills next month, but city officials said the increase is minimal compared to the alternative.

Atmos originally presented a $22.7 million increase system-wide, but the Atmos Cities Steering Committee came to an agreement with the gas supplier for a $16.6 million increase system-wide.

According to city documents, cities have jurisdiction of natural gas rates by law. Killeen, along with about 160 other cities, comprise the Atmos Cities Steering Committee.

Traci Briggs, deputy city attorney, said a rate review mechanism (RRM) was originally adopted by the participating cities in 2007, and renewed in July, as an alternative to the “more restrictive” gas reliability infrastructure program (GRIP).

Briggs said Atmos filed an application to increase gas rates in accordance with the RRM, seeking a $22.7 million increase.

Consultants were hired by the steering committee to investigate the request; however, it was determined that the rate increase was justified but “excessive.”

Briggs said negotiations began and the steering committee was able to compromise with Atmos for a $16.6 million system-wide increase.

The Killeen City Council still has to vote on the matter, but Briggs said the alternative, if the council rejects the agreement, would be Atmos filing a GRIP and the system-wide increase being about $28 million.

“If we don’t approve it, it’s going to cost us more money,” Mayor Dan Corbin said. “It’s going to cost the citizens more money.” Briggs said approving the compromise with Atmos would be “extremely positive to the city of Killeen” and “less costly to citizens in the end.” Residential customers will see on average a 74-cent increase, commercial customers will absorb a $2.16 month increase, and industrial and transportation a $53.65 increase. If approved, the new rates will be effective Nov. 1. The council will consider the agreement Tuesday.

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