Topeka The parties reached agreement late this morning in Kansas Public Service's rate increase case, suspending a technical hearing that had just gotten under way.
The agreement reached among KPS, the Kansas Corporation Commission staff and the Citizens Utility Ratepayers Board will be submitted to the commission within 10 days in writing. The commission will study it and have a decision by the end of the year, said Sam Van Leeuwen, KCC spokesman.
Under the stipulation, Van Leeuwen said, KPS would be allowed to raise its rates $1.1 million. The utility had sought a $1.6 million increase and the KCC staff had recommended an increase of $882,000.
Van Leeuwen said it had not been calculated how much the agreement would increase natural gas rates for residential customers, but said most of the increase will have to come from raising the price of the gas itself, because service charges were not substantially changed.
KPS distributes natural gas to 22,000 customers in Lawrence.
Under terms of the agreement, Van Leeuwen said:
The KPS residential customer monthly service charge will remain at $3.95. The company had asked to increase it to $8 and the KCC staff had recommended it be increased to $5.
The monthly service charge for small commercial customers will increase from $3.95 to $4.50 and the charge for small commercial-industrial customers will go from $3.95 to $30.
The collection charge, which the company wanted raised to $10, will remain at $8.
The reconnection charge, which the utility wanted increased to $18, also will remain at $10.
The company wanted to impose a $50 charge to reconnect those whose service has been off less than six months. The parties agreed on a $5 fee.
The agreement provides for a new service initiation fee of $5.
This is the first rate increase the utility has sought since 1985.
William C. Salome, president of KPS, said in his testimony that the company is seeking the increase because of inflation and regulatory changes.