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Midwest Energy cancels planned vote on natural gas rate changes due to COVID-19
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HAYS — Midwest Energy announced Monday it will not ask for its Board of Directors to proceed with a proposal to change natural gas rates while its communities are facing challenges from COVID-19.  

“We believe it best for our members to suspend this matter while everyone is dealing with this rapidly changing pandemic,” said Pat Parke, Midwest Energy’s CEO. “Our customers and their businesses are facing exceptional challenges right now. We’re sensitive to that, and we don’t want to contribute any additional stress,” Parke added.    

Midwest Energy’s residential and general service gas delivery rates would remain the lowest in Kansas had the proposal advanced. The proposed changes, the first since 2016 and announced in February, would have seen an average residential customer’s bill increase by $1.87 per month based on actual 2018 gas use.  

A series of public meetings to explain the proposed changes were scheduled for early April in Hays, Colby and Scott City, but were canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Board of Directors was scheduled to vote on the proposed rate changes at a public meeting in Hays on May 18. Had rate changes been approved, they would have went into effect July 1, 2020. 

“Ultimately, a natural gas rate adjustment will be necessary in the future,” Parke added. “We will closely monitor this pandemic and its economic fallout and make a recommendation to the Board to reconsider the proposal at the appropriate time.”    

Headquartered in Hays, Midwest Energy is an electric and natural gas cooperative serving 92,000 customers in central and western Kansas.