SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3/KCTV) – Spire Gas presented a proposal to state regulators for a 13 percent rate increase for western Missouri residents.
Spire has said the rate increase is necessary in order to pay for “operating and maintenance expenses,” along with “return on investment in plant”. But such a rate hike still needs to be approved by the Missouri Public Service Commission, which is looking at whether the company’s expenditures are reasonable and prudent. The commission is made up of five members appointed by the governor.
The utility’s staff said if its request is approved, it would amount to a 12.65 percent rate increase. For the typical residential customer on the western side of the state, Spire estimates an extra $10.95 per month. That varies based on energy use.
Spire’s staff explained at a public meeting in Kansas City last month that the extra money the company is seeking is for a revenue deficiency.
The Missouri Public Service Commission’s final decision on Spire’s proposed rate hike will likely come early next year, but commission staff has been recommending less than half of what the company is asking for, which would amount to an additional $70.7 million in revenue for Spire rather than the requested amount of $152 million.
As Spire works to push the proposal through, they are offering energy-saving tips for residents to keep their heating bills as low as possible.
Spire Service Manager Dallas Jones said his biggest money-saving tip is to get your furnace checked yearly, the earlier, the better, and check your furnace filters monthly.
Consider turning down your thermostat overnight or when you’re at work will help too.
“Say you have your thermostat set to 70 degrees. Your furnace will make sure that it gets there. But as you walk around your house, if you have any of those openings or are seeing daylight coming in, you’re gonna feel that cool air in those spaces. Nobody wants that,” said Jones. “You’re also not wanting your furnace to have to work extra hard because you don’t have a clean filter in there. That’s a simple thing that we can do to make sure that your furnace is going to work a lot less hard to heat your home up.”
He also suggested keeping an eye out for any cracks underneath your doors or windows. If you feel that cool air coming in, it’s a good idea to seal those crevices with weather stripping.
“If you see any cracks in your home – whether it’s underneath your door or windows, those are dollars going out the door,” he said. “By using some of these more advanced thermostats that you can adjust 8 to 10 degrees cooler than what your normal preferences would be when you’re away or sleeping, you’re looking at 180 bucks at minimum a year.”
Customers can still share their thoughts on the rate hike proposal through the Missouri Office of the Public Counsel here.
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