Energy News Today

Texas-based natural gas company sends Shawnee Mission School District $1.6 million

                If you think your gas bill increased this winter, check out what happened to the Shawnee Mission School District.During Monday night’s school board meeting, the district said it received a $1.6 million natural gas bill from Symmetry Energy Solutions, which is headquartered in Houston, Texas. District leaders said the bill was nearly “three times” what the district normally budgets to cover the entire system for the year.The price increase is like the bill that Kansas City International Airport received.Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said Monday that KCI’s gas bill for February increased to $2.4 million. The bill from the airport’s Texas-based gas provider was an increase of more than $2.32 million than it regularly pays on average.“We weren’t born yesterday,” Lucas said in a social media post. “So, expect some further talks from here.”According to the company’s website, Symmetry is a “leading energy supplier providing over 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to more than 100,000 residential and commercial customers in over 30 states.”“Kansas City certainly understands the energy industry challenges from this winter, primarily originating in the southwest,” Lucas said. “We do not believe, however, those costs should be disproportionately assessed to our MoKan flying public. The city manager is on the case.”Russell Knapp, the Shawnee Mission School District's chief financial officer, told board members the bill was received from Symmetry on Friday, and he’s already reached out to the company for solutions.“We’ll take a look at that in the next week or so and hopefully some good news can come from that,” Knapp said.Knapp said if Symmetry won’t cooperate, the district does have money to cover the bill, but he’s hopeful it won’t come to that.“We’ll continue to monitor the operating funds,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll have savings from vacancies and other lines that will help offset that. If it doesn’t, it will come from our balances.”Shawnee Mission schools budgets $600,000 a year for natural gas. "They're big bills and keep in mind, a lot of that deals with the contractual arrangement of those customers," said Scott Carter, president of Spire Missouri.Carter said that residential customers won't see such an increase. To help customers, he said that Spire will spread the rate hike over three years, likely about 7% each year starting in November."Much lower than what it could be, much lower than what you've seen in other parts of the country, and some other customers," Carter said.Any increase you see before then will be for usage only. Kansas Gas Service said it has similar policies to Spire Energy. It says rates will increase after the state commission gives its approval. Texas energy companies have come under fire recently for passing along massive bills to customers after last month's winter storm.Texas' attorney general is suing electricity provider Griddy for rate increases,...

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2021-03-23 21:37:00

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