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Public Service Commission approves Atmos rate hike
Bills will increase by about $3 a month
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Atmos Energy customers soon will see about a $3 a month increase on their bills.

The Public Service Commission voted 4-1 Monday to allow Atmos Energy to increase its rates by $3 million annually. The company, which provides natural gas to customers in Gainesville and Oakwood, filed a request in October to raise rates by $3.8 million annually, a change the company says it needs because of changing market conditions and increased operating costs.

The commission’s public interest advocacy staff recommended a rate increase of approximately $1.7 million. The commission’s advisory staff recommended a $2.5 million increase.

“The advisory staff looks at the company’s case, the advocacy staff’s case, and then they make their own evaluation and then make a recommendation to the commissioners,” said Bill Edge, public information officer for the Georgia Public Service Commission.

Edge said short-term debt, inflation and return on equity were factors in the commission’s decision.

“They accepted the advisory staff’s recommendation with three exceptions. That’s why it’s $3 million instead of $2.5 million,” Edge said.

The commission held three rounds of hearings, including one in Gainesville, that allowed for testimony from Atmos Energy, Public Service Commission staff, other interested parties and the public. The commission heard from 14 witnesses during the hearings.

The commission last approved a change in Atmos’ rates on Sept. 17, 2008.

The new rate takes effect Thursday.

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