More than 130 Texas cities oppose Atmos rate hike

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DALLAS (AP) - More than 130 Texas cities from Wichita Falls to Round Rock are fighting a proposed $45 million rate hike sought by Atmos Energy Corporation.

The Dallas Morning News reported Sunday that the dispute centers on whether the natural gas provider is being allowed to earn a rate of return far beyond what it needs to upgrade infrastructure.

Officials with Dallas-based Atmos have said the increase is needed to cover repairs and renovations to its aging gas pipeline network.

Regulatory filings indicate the hike would add less than $2 per month to the average residential customer's bill. Rates are regulated by the Texas Railroad Commission,

Attorney Geoffrey Gay, who represents most of the cities, says the proposal includes money for executive bonuses and increases in employee benefits.

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