Atmos looks to raise rates to compensate for increased gas costs |

Atmos looks to raise rates to compensate for increased gas costs

Michael Schrantz

— Atmos Energy has filed an application with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to raise its natural gas rates for Northwest Colorado effective April 1.

In a legal notice in the Sunday Steamboat Pilot & Today, Atmos advertised the rates as an 18 percent increase for residential customers, a 20 percent increase for commercial customers and no increase for transportation customers.

Colorado Public Utilities Commission Terry Bote said Tuesday that Atmos files a document with the state every fall that estimates what the cost of gas will be for the year. If the actual prices for gas differ from the estimates, Atmos can come back to the commission for permission to pass on the higher gas costs to the customer on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

For an interim rate change such as what's been applied for, Atmos can't realize additional profit from the increase.

The increase likely will be on the commission's March 26 agenda, Bote said, but requests such as this are routine and likely would be approved if Atmos' costs warrant the change.

The notice from Atmos stated that the average monthly bill for a residential customer would increase by 15 percent, from $62.05 to $71.22. The average monthly bill for a small commercial or commercial user would increase 18 percent, from $280.78 to $332.02.

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In the fall, Atmos again will have to file a yearly estimate of its costs with the commission.

Xcel Energy recently an-nounced higher prices for its electric and gas customers. Xcel files its gas cost adjustment on a quarterly basis and stated in a release that higher prices are because of colder weather and higher demand this year.

Yampa Valley Electric Association buys power from Xcel but plans no rate changes.

Written objects for Atmos' increase can be filed with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission at 1560 Broadway, Suite 250, Denver, CO 80202.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206, email or follow him on Twitter @MLSchrantz

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