Missouri regulators approve electricity price jump in Joplin area

Wednesday, June 1, 2011 | 12:14 p.m. CDT; updated 1:05 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, June 1, 2011

JEFFERSON CITY — Just over a week after a deadly tornado hit Joplin, Missouri regulators have approved an $18.7 million rate increase for the electric company that serves the area.

The 4.7 percent rate increase granted Wednesday for The Empire District Electric Co. was not related to the tornado damage but was the conclusion of a rate case that began last fall.

Missouri Public Service Commission Chairman Kevin Gunn acknowledges the timing is horrible, but he said regulators felt compelled to grant the increase because representatives for the utility and consumers agreed to it, and Joplin officials did not object. He said it largely reflects the cost of a new coal-fired power plant.

For a typical residential customer, the monthly increase will be about $3.52.

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