The Mississippi Public Service Commission approved a slight rate for customers of natural gas company Atmos Energy at its monthly meeting Thursday.
Atmos residential customers that buy five one thousand cubic feet per month (Mcf) will see a monthly rate increase of 74 cents, as a rate cut for part of Atmos’ revenue requirement reduces what could’ve been a $2.17 per month increase.
Atmos also had its budget for repairing its infrastructure increased since the company says in its filing that the Yazoo clay soils are damaging its steel piping throughout the Jackson metro area. Yazoo clay is infamous for expanding when wet and compacting when dry.
The commissioners unanimously approved an agreement between Atmos and the separate Public Utilities Staff. Atmos will take a revenue decrease of $730,000 after staff adjusted their operations and maintenance costs downward by $1.5 million to $45 million by deleting incentive compensation for $1.2 million and the rest coming from memberships, business meals and other entertainment expenses.
The impact for the average five McF customer will be a $1.43 decrease.
The staff also found savings with the company’s amortization of debt and interest paid on the company’s long-term debts. These savings are significant since ratepayers would have to pay for them though higher rates if approved by the commission.
Each utility must submit to the commission the amount of revenue it intends to collect from customers annually and Atmos needed a smaller total since it received gains from the 2017 tax cut passed by Congress and signed into law by then-President Donald Trump.
After a commission vote, Mississippi Power will be able to start the process of possibly billing customers for the charges for repairing damage from Hurricanes Zeta (October 2020) and Ida (September 2021) and several other severe weather events. Transforming this expense into what is known as a regulatory asset allows the company to replenish its retail property damage reserve by $39 million. This is the standard amount carried annually by the company that it says was depleted by June 30.
Mississippi Power will be able to file with the commission a request to pass these repair costs onto their ratepayers. If the commission approves it, the company could increase its rates to pay down the costs.
The PSC also voted to approve a 5 cent per month rate cut for natural gas company CenterPoint Energy over their energy efficiency plan.
Entergy will also be able to provide extended electrical service to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at its Engineering Research and Development Center via modular generators. Eight 400-kilowatt natural gas-fired reciprocating engine generators will make up the system for a total of 3.2 megawatts will provide resilient backup power to ERDC’s new secure computing facility.
The Corps will pay Entergy $29,000 monthly for the service.
Entergy also had its rate that it charges to small cogeneration plants that feed back into the company’s grid of 100 kilowatts changed. There are two options for these Entergy customers, with a flat rate of $2.983 per kilowatt hour and a peak ($3.182 kWh) and off-peak ($2.719 kWh