Texas Railroad Commission aka *Rubber Stamps R Us* Wants to Give Atmos Energy a Rate IncreaseSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


Texas Railroad Commission aka *Rubber Stamps R Us* Wants to Give Atmos Energy a Rate Increase

13 March 2007 at 3:57:26 PM

The sooner people realize that the RRC is completely in the pockets of the oil and gas industry, the sooner we can work to change the laws governing the RRC to make them accountable to US, not O&G. Atmos originally wanted 4 bucks more (per month) on each person's bill, but in order to justify it had padded their expenses with such goodies as 4 star restaurant meals. Some administrative law judges recommended, last month, a rate DECREASE. And, Atmos wanted to bill customers for pipe that TXU laid, THAT ATMOS AGREED they would pay for.

But the Texas Railroad Commission Hearts Atmos

Roughly $23 million in recommended rate savings for customers of Atmos Energy will likely turn into a rate increase of at least $6 million -- and possibly much more -- because of preliminary decisions made Monday by the Texas Railroad Commission, according to initial estimates.

The three-member panel's decisions, which are not yet final, came Monday during deliberations in an ongoing Atmos rate case. A panel of the agency's hearing examiners last month recommended the lower rates. Atmos, by contrast, seeks permission to increase them by about $60 million annually -- or $4 on a typical monthly bill...

For instance, the commission voted 3-0 to uphold judges' recommendations that Atmos should not collect about $10 million associated with the removal of dangerous plastic pipe. Atmos' predecessor had already been ordered to bear the cost.

However, the panel overturned a key finding by the administrative law judges that the Atmos merger with TXU Gas in 2004 was not in the public interest. The judges had estimated the potential cost of that merger to ratepayers at about $139 million -- or more than $17 million annually.

Remember this when time comes up to vote for Railroad Commissioners. DO NOT make the mistake of thinking "Well, this is all about railroads, who cares?". It is about the OIL AND GAS industry making decisions not only about your rate increases, but also about clean water and ground around gas and oil wells.  (in fact, railroad oversight has been transferred to TxDot as of 2005, so they don't at ALL have anything to do with it, but haven't changed the name, uh....... why? )

The three-member commission was initially appointed by the governor, but an amendment to the state's constitution in 1894 established the commissioners as elected officials serving overlapping six-year terms. No specific seat is designated as Chairman; the Commissioners choose who among them will serve as Chairman. As of January 2006, the commission’s members are: Chairman Elizabeth Ames Jones and commissioners Michael L. Williams and Victor G. Carrillo. All three members are Republicans.

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