The Missouri Public Service Commission this week approved yet another rate increase for Empire District Electric Company customers.
The increase will allow Empire to collect an additional $27.5 million in annual revenues.
The company also has reduced its fuel adjustment clause revenue, meaning the rate increase will result in a total net increase to customers of about $18.9 million.
“The impact our customers are going to see is about a 4.7 percent increase,” said Amy Bass, Empire director of corporate communications.
Empire last raised its rates only four months ago, changing its fuel adjustment rate which resulted in a net increase of about $1.45 per 1,000 kilowatt hours, which company officials say is the average monthly residential usage.
The latest increase will equal about $5.60 per month for the average customer.
The company began seeking the latest increase in the middle of last year to offset an increase in depreciation rates and added expenses from employee pensions, retiree health care, vegetation management and the operating and maintenance costs of the Iatan Common, Iatan 2 and Plum Point power plants.
In 2011, another $3.29 per month fuel adjustment was made, in addition to a $3.52 per month general rate increase.
In August 2010, the company increased rates by an average of $13 per month.
That means, during the past 30 months, Empire customers have seen rates increase by approximately $27 a month, more than 20 percent from their 2010 levels.
The latest increase takes effect April 1, but Empire has agreed to postpone implementation until October 2014, according to a press release.
“We believe the agreement provides for a balanced result that will allow us to continue to provide our customers with safe, reliable service and our shareholders a fair return on their investment,” said Brad Beecher, Empire president and CEO.
Empire provides service for approximately 150,000 customers in Missouri, including portions of Taney and Stone counties.
White River Valley Electric Cooperative, which also provides service to Tri-Lakes Area customers, increased its rates effective March 1. That increase of approximately 9 percent totaled an average of $10 per month for residential customers. It last increased its rates 8 percent in April 2009, a year after a 17 percent hike.