By James Clark
LUBBOCK, TX – The City of Lubbock is gearing up for a possible legal battle with Atmos Energy. Public records say Atmos, a supplier of natural gas, proposed a rate hike effect as of November 22.
Public records say, “On or about October 18, 2013, Atmos Energy Corporation filed a Statement of Intent to increase its revenue by approximately $12.4 million for its ‘West Texas Division.’”
Those same records say the residential base rate – which does not include the cost of natural gas – will go up 22.8%. However, when the cost of the gas is included the residential rate hike would be 11.26%.
Atmos cannot profit from the gas but only for the delivery of the gas.
City staff recommends that the City Council vote on Thursday to put the rate hike on hold for 90 days as allowed by state law. From there the city can accept the rate hike, or settle with Atmos. If no agreement is reached then Atmos can appeal to the Texas Railroad Commission.
City staff recommends hiring a legal firm to represent Lubbock in the event that an appeal is filed. Public records say in the past, having hiring an outside firm “played a key role in minimizing the increase in rates proposed by Atmos…”