ST. LOUIS, Sept. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The Missouri Public Service Commission
today approved the unanimous settlement reached in the natural gas rate case
filed February 18, 2005 by Laclede Gas Company.
The approved settlement allows the Company to increase its base rates by
$10.5 million annually, $6.1 million of which is already being billed to
customers in the form of Infrastructure System Replacement Surcharges (ISRS),
resulting in a $4.4 million net increase compared to existing base rates. In
addition, Laclede's Purchased Gas Adjustment (PGA) rates will be increased by
$4.1 million to recover the costs Laclede incurs to finance its investment in
gas supplies which it injects underground in the summer for its use during the
Together the base and PGA rate increases will raise existing rates by $8.5
million annually, resulting in an overall average increase of approximately 1%
for the typical residential customer, or $1.05 per month on an annual basis.
The current ISRS surcharges will be eliminated on October 1, 2005 when the new
rates become effective.
Under the approved settlement, Laclede will contribute $1 million annually
to fund a new low-income energy assistance program to help the Company's most
vulnerable customers with their utility bills in exchange for their commitment
to conserve energy and improve their payment performance, and will increase
the funding for the Company's existing low-income weatherization program from
$300,000 to $500,000 annually. Laclede will also contribute $300,000 annually
to fund an expansion of the number and size of various energy efficiency
programs that customers can use to reduce consumption of natural gas and save
on their utility bills.
The settlement approved by the Commission also allows Laclede to retain
certain revenues it realizes from the release of pipeline capacity and the
sale of gas to off-system customers; provides the Company an opportunity to
retain a portion of any savings it is able to achieve in connection with the
procurement of gas supplies and related financial hedging instruments;
continues its present weather mitigation rate design; and implements the
Company's depreciation method, which was affirmed by the Commission earlier
The rate increase approved by the Commission covers increased costs
incurred by Laclede to operate and maintain its 15,000-mile distribution and
storage system, through which it distributes gas to its 630,000 customers.
Laclede's last general rate increase was in 2002.
Laclede Gas, the largest natural gas distribution company in Missouri, is
a subsidiary of The Laclede Group (NYSE: LG).
Note: This news release contains forward-looking statements within the
meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. The
Company's future operating results may be affected by various uncertainties
and risk factors, many of which are beyond the Company's control, including
weather conditions, governmental and regulatory policy and action, the
competitive environment and economic factors. For a more complete description
of these uncertainties and risk factors, see the Company's Form 10-Q for the
quarter ended June 30, 2005, filed with the Securities and Exchange
SOURCE Laclede Gas Company