Dallas City Council Members Push Back Against Proposed Atmos Rate Increase

The Dallas City Council and Atmos Energy could be headed for a legal showdown over the gas company's latest proposed fee hike.After more than $18 million worth of rate increases since 2013, Atmos would like to get another $10.7 million from Dallas customers to help pay for its infrastructure improvements. But company reps told city officials they'd settle for $7.8 million, or roughly $2.46 more on the average customer's monthly gas bill.Members of the council's Budget, Finance and Audit Committee on Monday recommended that the full council reject the settlement and instead set a lower rate. The committee members also suggested appealing the increase to the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates energy in the state.Atmos' base rate increases of recent years haven't put a significant dent in customers' wallets because they have been largely offset by lower natural gas prices. But council members said they still want a better deal from Atmos."In every conceivable way, 2017 will be the most expensive year to live in the city of Dallas for its taxpayers and fee-payers," said council member Philip Kingston. "That's going to be the case in 2018 also, almost certainly. We've got to look for reasonable ways to hold that down."Kingston said his council colleagues ought to consider publicly shaming Atmos and the Railroad Commission if they allow the rates to continue to climb.A vote on the matter is scheduled for the May 24 council meeting.  Continue reading...

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