Missouri's Spire To Raise Rates Just in Time for Winter

Spire seeks a revenue increase of $151.88 million that would impact residents' monthly bills

click to enlarge A lit gas burner.
Spire seeks an increase in revenues after a November 2021 increase.

Missouri Spire customers are likely to see their gas bills get bigger for the second year in a row.

This week, customers of the state's natural gas company received a Notice of Local Public Hearings and Request for Comments Regarding Proposed Increase GR-2022-0179. In it, Spire disclosed it had filed a request to increase revenues by 10.29 percent to approximately $151.88 million with the Missouri Public Service Commission.

Though the size of the rate hike is still open for public comment, if it stays as-is those in eastern Missouri would see an approximate increase of $8.19 monthly or 10.44 percent. Those in western Missouri would see an increase of about $11 a month or 12.65 percent increase. Any increase would take effect by February 29, 2023.

If this sounds a little familiar, that's because late last year the Commission approved Spire's request to increase revenues by $72 million, which meant residential customers saw a 2.8 percent increase in their monthly bills, says Scott Weitzel, vice president of regulatory and governmental affairs for Spire Missouri. In January, Spire kicked off the Notice of Intended Rate Case Filing that has led to this proposed increase, according to filings on the Public Service Commission's website.

The back-to-back increases are due to Spire's regular rate review procedures as a state-regulated company. In the last rate review, commissioners ordered Spire to change its accounting procedures to better recover expenditures, specifically employee costs and improvements.

"We're investing hundreds of millions of dollars every year in Missouri," Weitzel says. "And part of that investment, once it's in service, once our customers are using it, you know, we then go back and ask for recovery for that. That's one thing about rate reviews, we're not asking for money to be spent in the future, per se, we're asking for recovery for investment."

Ultimately, the Public Service Commission is responsible for determining what, if any, rate increase would take effect, and Weitzel anticipates the final amount of revenue increase to be adjusted as it goes through the review process.

Doing that process two years in a row is unusual for Spire.

"We, again, never intended to file another rate review so closely," he says. "We know, rate, or any type of increase, is not fun or enjoyable for our customers. You know, inflation's at 8 percent, we're sensitive to that. Those that are especially struggling, we're going to have some outreach. We've got probably a handful, if not a dozen tools, to help those customers, especially those in need."

Weitzel encouraged those who need financial assistance to visit spireenergy.com/assistance.

Missouri residents are invited to a public hearing where they can testify on the rate increase request. The hearings will take place at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, October 12, and at noon on Thursday, October 13, at St. Louis Community College-Florissant Valley (3400 Pershall Road) and 6 p.m. on Tuesday, October 18, at Gregg/Klice Community Center (1600 East 17th Terrace, Kansas City).

Residents can comment in writing to the Missouri Public Service Commission (P.O. Box 360, Jefferson City, Missouri, 65102; 800-392-4211; [email protected]). More information is available at spireenergy.com/rate-review.

About The Author

Jessica Rogen

Jessica Rogen is managing editor for the Riverfront Times. She’s also the editor in chief of Boulevard, a literary magazine.
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