On Tuesday, May 17, 2022, the Missouri Public Service Commission (MPSC) approved updated base rates for Liberty Missouri electric customers. New base rates take effect June 1, 2022. Since the last rate update in 2020, Liberty has invested more than $860 million in critical infrastructure for improved reliability and grid security, technology to enhance customer service, and cost-effective, renewable energy generation.
In addition to the base rate change, Liberty received MPSC approval to implement time-of-use rates beginning October 15, 2022. These rate plans are designed to show customers the correlation between when they use energy – during costlier peak-use times or during less expensive off-peak times – and the respective impact on their electric bill. When these rates go into effect in October, customers will pay a lower rate for energy used daily during the off-peak hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Additional optional time-of-use rate structures will be available to residential and small commercial customers. These rate structures are designed to give customers more control over their monthly electric bill. More information about these rate options will be shared with customers prior to October 15. Liberty also received approval to expand programs for qualifying customers that provide financial assistance for energy bills and home weatherization to help improve energy efficiency.
Under the MPSC order, a Liberty Missouri residential electric customer using approximately 1,000 kilowatt-hours of energy per month will see an increase of $9.93 per month, or a 7.53% increase.
Fuel Adjustment Charge Update
In addition to the above referenced base rate increase, Missouri customers will also see a change in the fuel adjustment clause (FAC) charge on their bill effective June 1, 2022. This increase is the result of a required semi-annual filing, which represents the charge for the difference between the amount of fuel and purchased power costs established in base rates and the amount of actual fuel and purchased power costs incurred by Liberty. If costs are less, customers see a credit on the Fuel Charge line, and if costs are more, customers see a charge. The charge includes no mark-up profit for the Company. For residential customers using 1,000 kWh of electricity a month, the FAC will increase by approximately $5.85 per month. Beginning June 1, 2022, fuel cost savings related to Liberty’s wind farms will be factored into the updated rate structure and future FAC updates.
A rate request is a public regulatory review process in which a utility must demonstrate to its state public service commission why a proposed change in rates is needed. This independent public process helps ensure transparency and fair rates based on the costs to serve customers.
Liberty is required to provide every customer in our service area with safe and reliable electricity at rates approved by the public service commission of each state. In exchange, the utility is allowed the opportunity (not a guarantee) to earn a fair return for investors. Even though our regulators will ultimately determine any changes to customer rates, we pledge to do our part to keep rates as reasonable as possible.
Time-of-use rates are rates that vary based on the time of day. Energy that is used during off-peak hours, when energy demand is lower, is priced lower than energy that is used during peak hours, when energy demand is higher. Liberty customers will be placed in a default time-of-use plan beginning October 15 and will pay a lower rate for energy used daily during the off-peak hours of 10 p.m. To 6 a.m. Additional time-of-use rate options will be available as well. More information will be shared with customers in the coming months, prior to when these rates go into effect.
Liberty offers programs to encourage energy efficiency and assist our limited-income customers. Liberty also provides flexible payment options to customers who may be experiencing financial hardship.
Providing customers safe, dependable energy through Liberty’s infrastructure upgrades. These investments bolster reliability and strengthen our system and the grid against the impacts of extreme weather events and security threats.
Providing customers with options to help manage and lower their monthly bill through the installation of smart meters. The automated meter technology helps lower operational costs and supports new, convenient customer service platforms along with time-of-use rate plans that put customers in control of the most cost-effective time to use energy.
Transitioning to clean, renewable energy that is expected to save customers money over the long term compared to other energy generation. This included:
Expanding financial assistance to customers by continuing Liberty’s low-income pilot program and increasing the available discount to two times the customer charge during the peak heating months of December through February and peak cooling months of June through August.
Liberty will also establish a critical needs program and more than double the funding for the low-income weatherization program, from $250,000 to $550,000 annually. This program, funded by Liberty and supported by area assistance agencies, helps to improve energy efficiency at qualifying customer homes to help reduce energy bills.