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Atmos Energy rate increase approved

Associated Press

FRANKFORT - Atmos Energy Corp. customers will see their bills rise after the company won approval for an $8.5 million annual revenue increase.

The amount is more than $4.8 million less than the utility sought.

The Kentucky Public Service Commission approval Tuesday means the typical residential customer using an average of 5,000 cubic feet of natural gas per month will have an increase of $1.99 per month in the base portion of the bill.

The monthly customer charge will increase to $16. Currently, the monthly customer charge is $12.50 plus a $2.61 monthly surcharge. The surcharge resets to zero with the rate increase. The gas delivery charge also will increase, from $1.10 per 1,000 cubic feet to $1.32.

The order applies only to Atmos Energy's base rate, which covers the utility's cost of operating and maintaining its system, as well as any profit margin. The commodity cost of the gas itself, which is adjusted quarterly to reflect market prices, is determined separately and is passed through to consumers on a dollar-for-dollar basis by Atmos Energy, with no additional profit for the utility.

Atmos Energy originally sought to increase its annual revenue from gas operations by $13.367 million (8.6 percent). The company proposed to increase the monthly customer charge to $16 from the current $15.11 - the $12.50 customer charge plus the $2.61 surcharge.

Atmos Energy proposed to increase the gas delivery charge to $1.63 per 1,000 cubic feet. The increase sought would have increased the typical residential bill by $3.54 per month, or $42.48 per year.

As permitted by Kentucky law, Atmos Energy put its proposed rates into effect Jan. 24. As a result of the PSC decision to set lower rates, the company will have to refund the amount it has over-collected since that date, plus interest, to its customers.

Atmos serves about 173,000 customers in 38 counties in western and central Kentucky. 

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