Advocates want public input on Empire rate request

AP News
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Posted: Nov 09, 2009 11:26 AM

Consumer advocates say the public should be ready to express its opposition to Empire District Electric Co.'s proposed rate hike for Kansas customers.

Last Wednesday, Empire announced it is seeking a seeking a nearly 25 percent increase in annual revenues, or $5.2 million. It's the utility's first rate increase request since 2005.

The Joplin-based utility has more than 10,000 customers in Baxter Springs, Columbus, Galena, Riverton and surrounding areas.

Empire spokeswoman Amy Bass says a Kansas residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity would see rates increase 27 percent, or $25.09 per month.

David Springe, consumer counsel for the Citizens' Utility Ratepayer Board, says the public should be aware when a hearing on the request is scheduled and turn out in force.

The Kansas Corporation Commission isn't expected to act on the increase before next summer.