Southern Union Co.'s Missouri Gas Energy (MGE) Thursday received approval from the Missouri Public Service Commission to increase its distribution base rates effective March 30. The increase will add about $27.2 million to MGE's annual revenues.

According to Houston-based Southern Union, the revenue increase will allow the company to earn a fair return on its investments and recover increased expenses associated with operating, maintaining and enhancing its 8,000 mile gas distribution system. It also is expected to pay for the cost of capital expenditures MGE has made for safety projects, public improvement relocations and new construction.

The new rate structure approved by the commission is expected to produce an improved rate design that should stabilize MGE's revenues and reduce the impact of weather-related fluctuations on bills for MGE's customers.

Missouri Gas Energy, headquartered in Kansas City, MO, serves 510,000 residential, commercial and industrial end-user customers in 34 counties throughout the state of Missouri.

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