Stumbo, gas company reach rate increase settlement

John O'Brien Jul. 2, 2007, 1:56pm


FRANKFORT, Ky. - Kentucky Attorney General Greg Stumbo is remaining active in the world of gas prices, recently announcing a reduction in a pending natural gas rate increase.

Stumbo said Friday that his agreement with Atmos Energy Corp. cut the increase sought by nearly half, limiting Atmos to a general increase of $5.5 million. The company's original request was approximately $10.4 million.

In May, Stumbo filed the first state-powered lawsuit against a major oil refinery for price gouging, claiming Marathon Oil illegally jacked their prices in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

As a result of the settlement with Atmos, the company will withdraw two provisions from its original requests that would have guaranteed recovery of certain costs without giving the Public Service Commission and Stumbo any opportunity to evaluate those costs, Stumbo said.

Atmos serves almost 173,000 customers in central and western Kentucky.

"Under this agreement, Atmos customers will experience a much smaller increase in their natural gas rates," Stumbo said. "I will continue to closely scrutinize all utility rate increases to ensure consumers are not being required to pay more than is reasonable."

The PSC must approve the settlement and will hold a hearing July 10.

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