JOPLIN, Mo. – The new owner of Missouri Gas Energy is asking for a rate increase that would cost the average residential customer $2.33 a month.

Laclede Gas Co., which acquired MGE earlier this month, filed the request Monday with the Missouri Public Service Commission. If approved, the increase would raise an estimated $17 million in net revenue.

The Joplin Globe reports the proposed increase would help pay the cost of delivering natural gas, infrastructure improvements and other expenses.

Laclede president Steve Lindsey said in a statement that the company did not want to file a rate case so soon after obtaining MGE but it was necessary to meet legal requirements for funding MGE's pipeline infrastructure improvements.

With its acquisition of MGE, Laclede Gas has 1.1 million natural gas customers in Missouri, including in Eastern Jackson County.