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Spire natural gas prices increasing after cost adjustment review

The adjustment was due to a cost review that included the 2021 winter storm that led to outages in Texas and other states

ST. LOUIS — Spire customers will see an increase in natural gas prices starting today after a price analysis found the rate charges to customers for 2021 were below the market rate.

The price change, which will take effect on Nov. 30, will increase the cost of natural gas for Spire East residential customers from $0.37 per therm to $0.59 per therm, a press release from the Missouri Public Service Commission said.

"For the average residential customer in Missouri it will go up about $14 per month," said Spire spokesman Jason Merrill. 

Spire East includes customers in the City of St. Louis and the Missouri counties of St. Louis, St. Charles, Butler, Iron, Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, Crawford, St. Francois and Ste. Genevieve.

The wholesale price of natural gas accounts for about 50% of a customer's bill and is not regulated by the Missouri Public Service Commission. Merrill says Spire does not make a profit on the cost of gas - customers pay what the company pays. Spire makes its money, Merrill says, on services like delivery of the gas. 

The Actual Cost Adjustment is a program that tracks the price of natural gas throughout the year and compares it to the price collected from residential customers. In years where the price charged to customers is above market price, customers are refunded over the following year.

In 2021, however, the price to customers was below market value when averaged out over the year. The most significant factor was the 2021 winter storm that caused service outages in Texas and impacted the price of natural gas throughout the region.

RELATED: Utility companies in Missouri ask customers to cut back on usage, warn of outages and price increases

Residential customers of Spire West will see an increase from $0.40 per hundred cubic feet of natural gas to $0.79 per hundred cubic feet of natural gas. Spire West provides gas for customers in the Missouri counties of Andrew, Barry, Barton, Bates, Buchanan, Carroll, Cass, Cedar, Christian, Clay, Clinton, Dade, DeKalb, Greene, Henry, Howard, Jackson, Jasper, Johnson, Lafayette, Lawrence, McDonald, Moniteau, Pettis, Platte, Ray, Saline, Stone and Vernon.

The Missouri Public Service Commission provided the following tips for keeping your heating bills down.

  • Add attic insulation if necessary.
  • Place weather-stripping around doors, use plastic film covering and caulk windows to keep heat from escaping from your home.
  • Change or replace furnace filters each month when dirty.
  • Have your chimney checked for blockage.
  • Close fireplace dampers when the fireplace is not being used.
  • Have your heating system checked and tuned up if needed.
  • Place an approved insulated cover-jacket around the hot water heater.
  • Consider getting professional help for any projects that are beyond your capabilities.
  • Contact your local utility company to ask about energy-saving tips and programs.

Merrill, the Spire spokesman, said the price increase in the St. Louis area would be higher if not for the company's new Spire STL Pipeline, which allowed the company to source gas from areas not affected by February's winter storm that shut off the gas supply from much of the south. 

As for the status of Spire STL Pipeline, federal regulators have yet to rule on whether to extend the company's right to continue operating the pipeline through this winter while a court case with an environmental group is resolved. 

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