The Empire District Electric Co. files for higher Missouri Electric rates

JOPLIN, Mo., March 8, 2002 — The Empire District Electric Co. announced that it has filed a request with the Missouri Public Service Commission (MPSC) for changes in rates for its Missouri electric customers.

The company is seeking an annual increase of $19,779,916 in base rates, and is also asking to have the Interim Energy Charge (IEC) that was granted in the last rate case reconfigured to reflect a decrease of $9,994,888.

If approved, these combined changes would result in a net annual increase of approximately $9,785,027 or 4.2%. A residential customer using 750 kilowatt hours of electricity would experience a net increase of approximately $3.23 per month. The reconfigured IEC would remain subject to refund.

The company also filed an interim rate case for an annual increase in base rates of $3,562,983. This is the amount that was erroneously omitted from the company’s previous rate case.

The commission has previously denied Empire’s efforts to correct the error. The interim amount is included in the $19,779,916 general case filed today. The interim case represents 1.53% or $0.73 per month for a customer using 750 kilowatt hours.

In making the announcement, Bill Gipson, Executive Vice President and COO, stated: “We are seeking these changes in our Missouri rates to correct the error from our previous case, recover new operating costs and obligations, and reflect the actual and proposed changes in our capital structure. We are determined to continue to provide our customers fairly priced reliable service coupled with financial stability for our shareholders.”

With this case, Empire filed for an Experimental Low Income Rider that will add $0.10 per month for residential customers and $0.25 per month for commercial and industrial customers. This will be used to fund a 24-month trial program that would provide relief for energy expenses for up to 1,000 residential customers who are classified as low-income by the Missouri Department of Social Services.

The company also filed a rider to collect costs associated with security enhancements, if government mandated as a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. In addition, the company is seeking a change in the summer/winter rate differential for residential customers.

After today’s filing with the MPSC, an audit of Empire’s operations and an evidentiary hearing will be held on Empire’s request. Any new rates approved as a result of the general rate request are not expected to be effective until early 2003. Empire has requested that the MPSC approve the interim rates as soon as practical.

Based in Joplin, Missouri, The Empire District Electric Co. is an investor-owned utility providing electric service to approximately 150,000 customers in southwest Missouri, southeast Kansas, northeast Oklahoma, and northwest Arkansas. The company also offers monitored security, fiber optic service, and decorative lighting services to its customers, and provides water service in three incorporated communities in Missouri.


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