The recommended change is the result of a rate review process overseen by the Atmos Cities Steering Committee, of which Richardson is a founding member.
Each year, Atmos Energy files a rate request with the committee. Over the course of several months, the committee reviews and negotiates the proposed rate before returning a final recommendation.
Atmos originally proposed a systemwide increase of $43.4 million, according to a Sept. 13 presentation made by Todd Gastorf, purchasing and franchise manager for the city of Richardson. Following negotiations, an increase of roughly $31.5 million was recommended by the steering committee, Gastorf said.
If approved, the change would raise the minimum residential base rate by $0.60 from $20.25 to $20.85 per month, while the commercial base rate would increase by $2 from $54.50 to $56.60 per month.
Consumption rates would also increase, Gastorf said. The committee is proposing to increase the residential charge from $0.26651 to $0.27979 and the commercial charge from $0.11728 to $0.12263. Consumption rates are based on usage, Gastorf said.
The rate change is based on capital investments made in 2020, so it does not include repairs or maintenance that occurred as a result of February’s winter storm, Gastorf said. Those investments will likely be included in next year’s rate review process, he added.
Normally, rate changes would go into effect Oct. 1; however, Atmos has agreed to a two-month delay, resulting in the Dec. 1 effective date. This will result in a savings of $3.8 million systemwide, Gastorf said.
Since 2016, Atmos has invested $19 million in Richardson’s gas system infrastructure. In 2020, it invested $3.5 million, Gastorf said.
Council will vote on the settlement agreement at its Sept. 27 meeting.