Atmos Needs Rate Increase to Pay for Added Costs - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/10/05

Atmos Needs Rate Increase to Pay for Added Costs

Atmos is requesting a rate increase. For the customer, that means you can expect to pay $1.21 more a month on your bill. Atmos says they need the money. This comes after they announced record breaking profits of more than one billion dollars.

Prepare to be "gripped" by Atmos gas company this winter. GRIP, which stands for Gas Recovery Improvement Plan created by state legislators in 2003, allows gas companies to ask cities for increases to keep up infrastructure.

For the upcoming year, Atmos says they will take advantage of that for the first time. "It's to recover the investment on these types of projects, such as the Marsha Sharp Freeway such as subdivisions in South Lubbock," said Bill Guy, Atmos Rates and Regulatory Affairs Vice President.

Guy told NewsChannel 11 they have $7 million to re-coop. They are passing a 7.93% increase to residential customers, an 8.12% increase to commercial customers, and nearly 12.87% increase to industrial customers.

The City of Lubbock is stalling that increase, but City Councilman Gary Boren says Atmos will more than likely get it anyway. "We're like a gun with bullets but shooting blanks. We have no authority. We can call a delay and analyze but it goes to the state and they have the final say so," said Boren."All the gas company has to do is appeal our decision if its not what they want, and chances are it will prevail at the TX Railroad Commission," says councilman Tom Martin.

Both city councilmen say 64 rural cities went to the Railroad Commission to challenge Atmos's rate increase.

"If they grant it (the rate increase) for the rural areas, chances are, they will grant it for Lubbock city limits," said Martin.

Martin says Atmos can not raise their rates until at least December 17th. But before that date, the city hopes to know what the Railroad Commission decided on those 64 rural areas.

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