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Missouri Gas Energy will go away later this month — sort of

THE STAR

Natural gas customers on the Missouri side of the metro area will soon spot a change in their monthly bills: The name Missouri Gas Energy will be replaced by Spire.

Spire, which owns Missouri Gas Energy, will rebrand its local operation on Sept. 25.

Missouri Gas Energy serves 508,100 customers in the Kansas City region and employs 564. Along with the MGE name going away, customers may spot Spire Energy employees in the field clad in orange uniforms.

Spire, based in St. Louis, purchased LaClede Gas Company in 2014. LaClede had purchased MGE the year before.

Spire also owns two natural gas utilities in Alabama and one in Mississippi, serving 1.7 million customers altogether. All of the utilities owned by Spire will undergo the same branding.

“We’re not five individual companies anymore,” said Joe Hampton, vice president of operations for Spire. “We’re Spire.”

Spire is in the midst of applying for a rate increase with the Missouri Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities in the state.

The PSC is holding a hearing on Spire’s rate case at noon on Sept. 21 at the Mid-Continent Public Library North Independence Branch, 317 W. 24 Highway. Spire is asking for a $34 million increase in annual gas revenues, which translates into an average increase of $5.09 on residential customer monthly utility bills, according to the PSC.

Hampton said even with the increase, an overall decline in natural gas prices means tht Spire customers will pay less on a monthly average bill than they did as MGE customers in 2007.

Steve Vockrodt: 816-234-4277, @st_vockrodt

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