The Missouri Public Service Commission has approved a rate increase across the state for natural gas giant Spire. This increase that reflects the rising cost of natural gas will raise bills by about $8 a month, and it’s different from an increase on the delivery rate that the commission will decide on Wednesday.
“Spire West residential customers currently pay approximately $0.79 per Ccf of natural gas. Under this filing, the rate will increase to approximately $0.92 per Ccf,” the commission wrote in a press release. The increase of around 16% goes into effect on Tuesday.
“It’s gone up for everybody, it’s not just us,” said Spire spokesperson Jason Merrill about the price of natural gas. “The change results in an increase of approximately $8.14 per month, or 9.16%.”
The MPSC approved two Spire rate increases in late 2021: a gas cost increase of around 96%, and a delivery charge increase of around 73%, which The Star reported strained household budgets around the city.
What part of your bill is increasing
This change affects the natural gas cost component of your bill, which makes up around 50-55% of the total amount, according to the commission.
Unlike the delivery rate increase Spire requested last spring, gas rates are based on the actual wholesale price of natural gas.
That means these kinds of increases are not subject to the same scrutiny, including the public feedback process, that delivery rate increases must undergo.
“The wholesale cost of natural gas… is not regulated by the Missouri Public Service Commission. The wellhead cost of natural gas is unregulated and is primarily driven by supply, demand and the weather,” the commission wrote.
What to know about the other parts of your gas bill
In October, Kansas City residents gathered for a public hearing regarding the company’s request to increase its delivery cost: the portion of your bill on which Spire turns its profit.
The parties involved in this request recently reached an agreement on the increase they will approve: a revenue bump of $78 million. Spire has not yet released information about exactly how much this increase would impact residential customers, but could do so as soon as tomorrow if the commission passes the agreement.
Commissioners vote on the new rate on Wednesday morning.
All 22 residents who testified in October, including Kansas City Councilwoman Katheryn Shields, opposed the proposal.
“I’ve been on the council, off and on, for a combination of sixteen years,” Shields told commissioners. “We’ve never really come out against a rate increase before, but we did very strongly on this.”
In the month of September, Spire disconnected 6,518 people for nonpayment of their natural gas bills — the highest monthly total so far this year. Data for October and November is not yet available. The company has disconnected a total of 33,735 households for nonpayment this year so far.
Do you have more questions about utility costs in Kansas City? Ask the Service Journalism team at email@example.com.