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Customers express opinions about Liberty rate request at PSC hearing

A moderate-size crowd turned at at Missouri Southern’s Cornell Hall in Plaster Auditorium Monday night to express their feelings about a proposed rate request submitted by Liberty-Empire Utilities to the Missouri Public Service Commission.

If approved, the average residential customer using 1,000 kWh per month would see an approximate increase of $7.85 on their monthly bill – close to $100 a year.

Sherry Richard, Director of Rates and Regulatory Affairs at Empire says since 2016, Empire has investigated over $338 million dollars in capital. “Like any company, we have had cost increases for just normal operating expenses,” she said.

The utility would reap an additional $26.5 million dollars from the additional rates.

Many of those who spoke were senior citizens and complained about being asked for more money when they are trying to get by on fixed incomes. One woman described living on less than $2,000 a month and not even being able to afford meals at the local senior citizen center.

The Office of Public Counsel, the Missouri Consumer’s advocate office is on record as says customers bills should be decreased by about $140 million a year.

Customer comments followed a Question-Answer session.  Liberty-Empire serves Barton, Jasper, Newton, McDonald, St. Clair, Cedar, Dade, Lawrence, Barry, Hickory, Polk, Greene, Christian, Stone, Taney, and Dallas counties.

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