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Empire District Electric seeks rate hike for next summer

For a residential customer, the increase would be about $13.60 for using 1,000 kilowatt hours in a month.

September 28, 2010|edited news release

JOPLIN, MO – The Empire District Electric Company said Tuesday that it filed a request with the Missouri Public Service Commission for changes in rates for its electric customers in Missouri.  The Company seeks an annual increase in revenues of approximately $36.5 million, or about 9.2 percent.  Last month, the MPSC approved a $46.8 million rate increase, effective Sept. 10, for the company to pay for a new power plant in Arkansas.

If approved by the MPSC, the residential customer charge would increase to $24.00 per month.  This along with the change in the usage charge will result in a total monthly increase of approximately $13.60 for a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours.  The percentage change to customer bills will vary based upon the individual customer’s usage patterns.

The proposed change to the residential customer charge more accurately reflects the actual fixed costs incurred to deliver energy to customers. 

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The Company is asking to continue the use of the Fuel Adjustment Clause (FAC) that was previously approved by the MPSC.  The continuation of the FAC will allow the Company to increase or decrease its electric rates twice each year on June 1 and December 1 to track the changes in the cost of fuel used to generate electricity at the Company’s generating units and to track changes in the cost of electric energy it purchases on behalf of its customers.      

“We are seeking new rates to begin recovery of the costs associated with the completion of Iatan 2, an 850-megawatt, high efficiency coal-fired generating plant located in Platte County, Missouri.  Empire owns 12 percent, or about 102 megawatts, of the plant that is operated by Kansas City Power & Light.  The Iatan 2 unit, along with several other significant system improvements, was included in Empire’s long-term energy and regulatory plan approved by the MPSC in August 2005.  This is the final step in our five-year plan to provide our customers with reliable and environmentally responsible energy resource," said Bill Gipson, president and chief executive officer.

After this filing, the MPSC will perform an audit of Empire’s operations, hold public hearings, and hold an evidentiary hearing.  The Company anticipates that any new rates approved by the MPSC would not become effective until the summer of 2011.

Based in Joplin, Missouri, The Empire District Electric Company is an investor-owned, regulated utility providing electricity, natural gas (through its wholly owned subsidiary The Empire District Gas Company), and water service, with approximately 215,000 customers in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.  A subsidiary of the company provides fiber optic services.

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