Kyle votes to challenge gas increase

The Kyle City Council on Tuesday voted to challenge a natural gas rate increase proposed by the Texas Gas Service Company (TGS) that was scheduled to take effect Feb. 6.

TGS has filed an intent to change the rate with the Railroad Commission of Texas “and in all municipalities exercising original jurisdiction,” which includes approximately 441 residential and 27 commercial customers, all located on the east side of Interstate 35.

The proposal would raise the price by 9.43 percent including gas costs or 15.64 percent excluding gas costs and would also consolidate the Central Texas Service Area, the Gulf Coast Service Area and the city of Beaumont into a new service area called the Central-Gulf Service Area (CGSA).

Also in the proposal are the withdrawal of existing tariffs and implementations of new ones on new residential rate designs that provide “options for customers based on usage patterns,” rate schedules for unmetered gas street lights, a rate schedule rider to return excess deferred income taxes back to customers, a rate schedule to recover approved Hurricane Harvey costs, a rate schedule to recover pipeline integrity testing costs and a rate schedule that allows TGS to recover extraordinary expenses for restoring service after storms and natural disasters.

The resolution passed by council suspends the Feb. 6 effective date for the maximum period allowed by law, which is 90 days from the date it would have become effective. That is because TGS “controls the effective date and can extend the deadline for final city action to increase the time that the city retains jurisdiction if necessary to reach settlement on the case,” agenda background material explains.

The resolution also authorizes the city to participate in a coalition of cities served by TGS “in order to more efficiently represent the interests of the city and their citizens,” as well as to hire attorney Thomas Brocato and the law firm of Lloyd Gosselink Rochelle & Townsend to represent the city in matters related to the proposed increase and to intervene in TGS’s application with the Railroad Commission.

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