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Empire District Electric requests rate increase - KOAM TV 7

Empire District Electric requests rate increase

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A southwest Missouri electric company makes a request for a rate increase.  If passed, customers will see an average increase of about $6.60 a month.

Electricity is a necessity but for Tanglewood Apartment manager Ava Turley an increase in a monthly bill could mean some residents will be forced to  move out of the complex.

"We really can't afford increases in the utilities," says Turley.

Empire District Electric Company announced its request to bump up rates for its electric customers, however, it's up to the Missouri Public Service Commission on whether or not it will be approved.

The rate increase of about 5.3% would be used for operation and maintenance such as the trimming of plants and trees near power lines.

"I have to pay my own electric living here and I live over the clubhouse, already my electric bill was at $164 this month and it's not even that hot yet," says Turley.  "We just got into the hot part of the year, so that's probably going to go up another $50 or so when it gets really hot and I can't even afford that with two incomes coming in."

Residents would end up paying about $22.1 million and while some say they don't mind paying a little bit extra to help, others say they don't see a purpose for it.

"When you actually see that it is helping and see that it is working, I'd give an extra $10 a month," says Joplin resident Taylor Davis.

"There's a lot of people out there that really can't afford it," says Joplin resident Jaine Williams.  "There has to be some give for these people."

And while the increase would help pay for the needs of the company Turley says having her residents being able to pay their bills is important too.

"I know they're trying to raise money but people got to survive too," says Turley.

If the Missouri Public Service Commission approves the rate increase it will go into affect in June of 2013.

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