Spire Increases Rates by More Than 9%

On November 28, Spire natural gas customers in Western Missouri saw their average monthly bill increase over 9 percent. The Missouri Public Service Commission approved the overall rate increase of $78 million, down from the $152 million originally requested by Spire. This latest increase is on top of the previous year’s increase of more than 40% for Kansas City area customers. 

In January, Spire Missouri requested a general rate increase in the amount of $152 million for natural gas service. The Consumers Council of Missouri intervened in this case to protect the interests of Missouri consumers, especially those who are low- and moderate-income. John Coffman, Utility Counsel, represented Consumers Council and Jackie Hutchinson, Director of Advocacy, filed expert witness testimony. At the Spire local public hearings, many testified about the financial burden of gas bills and the tough choices they had to make between paying utility bills and buying food, medicine, or other essentials. The parties ultimately reached a unanimous agreement to settle this case, capping the increase at $78 Million.

Thanks in part to the efforts of the Consumers Council, in some instances low income customers will actually see a decrease in costs. The fixed customer charge will decrease from $22.00 (in St. Louis and the eastern side of the state) to $20.00 per month. Funding for the low-income affordability Payment Partner Program (“PPP”) will increase by $1 million annually to $3.3 million. This increase will be paid by Spire’s shareholders and ensures that PPP funding is evenly supported by ratepayer and shareholder contributions. Customer eligibility to participate in the Payment Partner Program will expand to 300% of the federal poverty level through April 30, 2023.

Spire says that natural gas prices have increased for several reasons. Recent international events impacting the global supply of natural gas mean it costs more for Spire to purchase natural gas for their customers. Increased demand for natural gas due to hot summer months – Natural gas is used to generate electricity to keep homes and businesses cool. So as temperatures rose during heat waves this summer, so did the demand for natural gas. Inflation – The U.S. and other countries around the world are experiencing a period of inflation, meaning the prices that individuals and companies pay for goods and services have increased during a period of high demand or limited supply.

Spire reminded customers that there are things they can do to lower their energy costs or even to receive assistance when they are unable to pay higher bills, although very few of their suggestions were low or no-cost.

  • Add attic insulation if necessary
  • Place weather stripping around doors, use plastic film covering and caulk windows to keep heat from escaping from your home
  • Change or replace furnace filters each month when dirty
  • Have your chimney checked for blockage
  • Close fireplace dampers when the fireplace is not being used
  • Have your heating system checked and tuned up, if needed
  • Place an approved insulated cover jacket around the hot water heater
  • Consider getting professional help for any projects that are beyond your capabilities
  • Contact your local utility company to ask about energy-saving tips and programs.

Spire will provide an additional $500,000 (funded equally by ratepayers and shareholders) to the Critical Needs Program – a program designed to protect customers who are seriously ill from gas service disconnection. Mary Esselman, CEO of Operation Breakthrough, which assists children and families in poverty in the Kansas City area, said many of the families they serve live in housing that isn’t energy efficient and pay hundreds of dollars for gas every month. A 10% increase for those families could mean an extra $40 or more a month on their bill.

Spire suggests that customers who need assistance applying for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The income limit and amount of benefits customers can receive doubled this year. For more info on LIHEAP or to apply go to: https://mydss.mo.gov/utility-assistance/liheap

In Excelsior Springs, customers who are struggling to pay utilities can seek assistance at the Good Samaritan Center or Meet the Need, both organizations offer solutions for utility assistance.

Good Samaritan Center of Excelsior Springs
108 Thompson Ave.
Excelsior Springs, MO 64024
Phone 816-630-2718
Meet the Need
1302 N Jesse James Rd
Excelsior Springs, MO 64024
Call 816-630-5221 for an appointment.

We keep the local news free thanks to advertisers and individual contributions!

Thanks to our Founding Sponsors

News for and About Excelsior Springs!

Get the Excelsior Citizen e-newsletter delivered straight to your inbox each week. It’s a collection of the best news and events all focused exclusively on Excelsior Springs. No fluff just local news and information you can trust!

Free Newsletter Signup