KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Leaders from natural gas company Spire are making their case for why they need their customers to pay more.

“We need those employees,” Vice President of Government Affairs Scott Weitzel said in an interview with FOX4 Tuesday. “We need to pay those employees to provide this service.”

Weitzel said there are four reasons they need their customers to pay a 10-11% increase, which amounts to about a $10/month increase in their bills.

“So that was one component, and that was actually ordered in the last commission order,” Weitzel said in reference to the Missouri Public Service Commission.

The commission ordered them to reset their accounting around all of their employees. The other three reasons Weitzel gave are that they’re replacing outdated piping. They need to make sure their investors are getting the right return. Plus, he said the winter weather from February 2021 caused an increase in natural gas prices.

“So we were financing a lot of that,” Weitzel said in reference to the bad weather from last year. “Our customers’ bills were not impacted. We were. Spire was paying for that, and that was hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Weitzel said this particular increase does not have to do with the purchase of gas, which rose this summer. Regardless though, your bill will go up if the commission approves Spire’s rate increase.

People who can’t afford the increase may be wondering what they should do.

“I would say give us a call and let’s talk about it,” Weitzel said. “We’ve got six or eight tools that we could use to help customers, especially those customers that are struggling the most. We’ve got one program that actually provides a $35 a month credit on a customer’s bill, which again more than takes care of the increase that we’re asking for.”

Customers who need help paying their bill can also visit the company’s website here.

The commission could make its decision on the increase Spire is asking for in late January. Weitzel said the increase wouldn’t be seen on customers’ bills until late February or March. 

There’s a public hearing Tuesday night on the potential rate increase. It starts at 6 p.m. at the Klice Community Center near 18th and Vine.

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