Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Greg Stumbo Today Continues Challenge of Atmos’ Over-earning
Attorney General Stumbo announced today that his Office has filed testimony with the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) establishing overcharging of Kentucky consumers for natural gas by Atmos Energy Company. Atmos is also known as Western Kentucky Gas.
In the winter of 2004-2005, Attorney General Stumbo began a review of the excessive rates Atmos is charging consumers. He filed a complaint with the Commission on February 1, 2005. It took Atmos one year to grant a hearing to the Office of the Attorney General.
“The Attorney General of Tennessee has also been reviewing over-earning by Atmos,” said Stumbo. “The company has also settled a case in Colorado involving charging consumers excessive rates. Meanwhile, the Kentucky PSC is dragging its feet to the detriment of rate payers in Western Kentucky.”
The Commission ruled in May, 2006, that the Attorney General could not ask Atmos certain questions regarding its rates – questions Stumbo found critical to his case. “We asked specific questions in our complaint that the PSC itself had asked of another company accused of over-earning in the late 1980’s. Regrettably, the Commission worries more about Atmos than Kentucky’s consumers,” explained Stumbo.
Any over charges to date cannot be refunded under the law. “Kentuckians have been losing close to $5.3 million dollars a year to the pockets of Atmos. This is outrageous,” Stumbo added.
Stumbo also expressed concern that Atmos has recently hired a PSC commissioner who was at the Commission when it ruled in Atmos’ favor on the Attorney General’s complaint. Greg Coker recently left the PSC and is now employed by Atmos.
Atmos serves more than 180,000 customers in 38 primarily western Kentucky counties.
In the last 2½ years, Attorney General Stumbo has successfully reduced requested utility rate increases by more than $75 million.