AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The Railroad Commission of Texas rejected a proposal that would stop bill estimating because it says it is already reviewing the issue.

A petition filed by the Atmos Cities Steering Committee went before the Railroad Commission Tuesday morning. The rule change suggests Atmos should read meters every month instead of estimating bills.

Last year Atmos ended the practice of bill estimating in the winter months after a CBS 11 investigation looked into skyrocketing bills.

But the company can still estimate bills between May and October, as long as it has read a meter within six months and has not estimated bills for more than two consecutive months.

Atmos Energy bill (credit: CBSDFW.COM)

The committee negotiates on behalf of 150 cities in Texas.

Geoffrey Gay, who represents the Atmos Cities Steering Committee issued the following statement:

“Despite the rejection, Atmos Cities Steering Committee believe that the proposed rule change will be useful to the Staff that premised its recommendation of denial of our petition on the fact that the Staff has initiated a broad review of the Commission’s consumer protection rules. Meanwhile, our petition has brought the Commissioner’s attention to the fact that the bill estimation rule is inconsistent with today’s technology and the fact that gas utilities have an entitlement to annual increases in rates associated with incremental capital investment. Cities will monitor the Staff’s efforts and we will comment on whatever rule changes are proposed.”

A spokeswoman for the Railroad Commission could not immediately say when staff might complete its review of the practice.

“Staff is conducting a thorough and comprehensive review,” wrote spokeswoman Ramona Nye in an email.

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