JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX) — The Missouri Public Service Commission has unanimously approved an agreement which authorizes Laclede Gas Company (Laclede) to purchase the natural gas operations of Missouri Gas Energy (MGE). Laclede has stated that it intends to own and operate two divisions in Missouri, the MGE Division and the Laclede Division.
Laclede and MGE are the two largest natural gas companies under the jurisdiction of the Missouri Public Service Commission, serving more than 1.1 million natural gas customers in the state.
The agreement approved by the Commission was submitted on July 2, 2013 by the Office of the Public Counsel, the PSC Staff, Laclede Gas Company, Laclede Group, Inc., Southern Union Company d/b/a Missouri Gas Energy, the City of Kansas City, IBEW Local Union No. 53, the Midwest Gas Users Association and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. On July 9, 2013, United Steelworkers District 11 filed a notice indicating it was also joining the agreement.
Under the agreement, Laclede will be under a general rate case moratorium. Laclede, according to the agreement, will not file a general rate case for its Laclede service territory prior to October 1, 2015, unless there is a significant unusual event that has a major impact on any of its Missouri service territories.
Laclede will be permitted, under the agreement, to file a general rate case for its MGE Division service territory by no later than September 18, 2013. If Laclede does not file a general rate case for its MGE service territory by September 18, 2013, then Laclede will not file a rate case for its MGE division service territory prior to October 1, 2015.
Under the agreement, any acquisition premium paid for MGE in connection with the transaction shall not be recovered in retail distribution rates. The acquisition premium is the total purchase price above net book value.
Laclede and MGE, under the terms of the agreement, will continue to provide all service quality reporting that exists at the moment prior to the closing of the transaction and both will strive to meet or exceed the customer service and operational performance levels currently provided to its customers. In addition, the transaction will have no impact on current energy efficiency programs offered by Laclede or MGE and MGE will keep the same terms and conditions for the weatherization program now existing between the City of Kansas City, Missouri and MGE for the counties of Clay, Platte and Jackson.
After reviewing the stipulation and agreement, the Commission independently finds and concludes that such stipulation and agreement is in the public interest and should be approved, the Commission said.