Lubbock Willing to Settle With Atmos Over Proposed Rate Hike

Published 03/09 2014 02:04PM

Updated 03/09 2014 02:11PM

By James Clark

LUBBOCK, TX -- The City of Lubbock is willing to compromise with Atmos Energy on the cost of a natural gas rate hike that was proposed in October. Atmos wanted a rate hike that would amount to an 11% monthly increase for the average residential customer. The Lubbock City Council denied the rate hike.

Atmos had the right to appeal to the Texas Railroad Commission. Instead, both sides agreed to a rate hike of 3% for the average residential customer.

“I think Atmos is trying to work with us and I appreciate them trying to work with us,” said City Councilman Jim Gerlt. “We do understand expenses are going up.”

Gerlt added, “This is a better settlement than if we went before the Railroad Commission.”

The rate is actually more complicated than just a 3% increase. The base rate will go up 16%, but the cost of gas will go down. Those two factors combined work out to a 3% average increase for residential customers.

According to public records from the agreement, the average Lubbock household might expect the monthly bill to go up $2.82.

However, this is not a done deal. The settlement is between Atmos and Lubbock, Amarillo, Dalhart and Channing. If any city backs out then Atmos also has the right to back out. The City Council will consider the proposal Thursday evening.

Lubbock, Amarillo, Dalhart and Channing still have pending litigation against the Texas Railroad Commission concerning another previous Atmos rate hike. The current settlement does not impact the previous dispute.

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