Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

June 21, 2013

Gas rates set to increase


— By CHRIS AGEE



Mineral Wells City Council took no action Tuesday in addressing a cost of service adjustment requested by Texas Gas Service. The filing set to go into effect would raise an average user's bill – based on 39 Ccf of gas usage – by about $1.62 per month.

City staff recommended allowing the rate increase to automatically go into effect on or after July 31, and City Manager Lance Howerton explained the rationale behind the adjustment.

In addition to inflation, which is often a major factor in such rate increases, he said TGS has funded major capital improvements in recent years.

"Texas Gas Service has invested significantly in infrastructure," Howerton said, noting its facility has also been improved.

Ward 3 Councilman John Upham asked how often such adjustments have been made, noting a similar rate increase was approved last year, and inquired as to the scope of ongoing infrastructure improvements.

TGS spokesperson Wyatt Irby was on hand to offer additional information and explained the provider is two years into a seven-year project to remove cast iron pipes and install polyethylene replacements. He said Mineral Wells is a major focus of the project.

According to Howerton, safeguards are in place allowing for the review of TGS expenditures. This means improvements funded by the rate increase will be equally distributed among communities in the North Texas Service Area.

While council had the option of either approving the rate increase or taking action to delay the increase ahead of negotiations, members opted to take no action Tuesday. The proposed rate change is now set to become effective with meters read on and after July 31.

Although city staff recommended council take no action, Howerton said it is important to present such information in a pubic setting.

"This is an opportunity for the public to be aware of what will be occurring," he concluded.