Atmos Energy Asks City of Dallas to Approve Rate Increase

Atmos Energy had to replace miles of metal piping after multiple safety issues in Dallas last year, now they need help paying for it.

The gas distribution company is asking the City of Dallas to approve a rate increase on customers to offset expenses and boost their revenue by more than $10 million.

The company says it spent $119 million in Dallas last year to replace distribution pipes and steel service lines and spent more than $4 million dollars on gas plumbing repairs in Dallas homes affected by a planned outage after multiple home explosions.

The company says these costs normally fall on customers.

An NBC 5 investigation last year found that the state ordered natural gas utilities -- including Atmos -- to replace the supply lines seven years before the work started.

Dallas city councilman Lee Kleinman says efforts to increase revenues shouldn't come at the expense of rate-payers.

"The thing that happened in this explosion incident was due to them not actually building out the infrastructure at the pace that they said they had been," said Kleinman. "So my view over this, but for the fact that they did not deliver the infrastructure improvements along the way, now they have this big catch up need to put infrastructure out there, and I don't think it fair to put that on to the tax, well the tax payers, the rate payers."

Atmos claims $20 million dollars in customer assistance costs from those outages, including lodging and meals for people who were forced from their homes, but says it is not trying to recover those costs through the rate increase.

If approved, the average residential customer's bill would increase by $3 a month. For commercial customers, the bill goes up nearly $10 dollars a month.

If the city comes in with a lower number, Atmos can appeal to the Railroad Commission of Texas.

Atmos Energy reported a net income of $602 million dollars in the 2018 fiscal year.

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