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The power is back on for Soulard residents who live near a building that exploded Wednesday afternoon at Shenandoah and Menard.
An AT&T subcontractor was installing fiber optic cable for the Stars Design Group when they hit a gas main. Employees smelled gas just after 1 p.m. and called the fire department. About a dozen people were evacuated minutes before a series of blasts.
Both gas and electric were turned off for 22 nearby buildings while gas crews worked to cap the line. Fire officials brought in a warming bus for people who were evacuated.
The lights are now back on in the neighborhood. And about midnight, Laclede Gas crews were going door-to-door, relighting pilot lights as gas service was restored.
There were no reports of injuries.
The extreme cold this winter is bringing some unwanted news to utility customers in the Midwest and Northeast -- higher heating bills.
As many in Missouri and Illinois have already seen, propane rates have skyrocketed in the past few weeks. Gas and electric rates aren't changing, but utility company's say customers should still expect to see higher bills starting this month.
A jump in demand because of the brutal winter weather is to blame, according to utility providers. Demand for natural gas reportedly hit an all-time high during the first week in January.
The situation isn't expected to improve any time soon, as forecasters are calling for more cold weather over the next few weeks.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - State utility regulators have approved a deal combining Missouri's two largest natural gas companies.
The Missouri Public Service Commission on Wednesday approved an agreement that allows Laclede Gas Co. to purchase Missouri Gas Energy.
Laclede Gas serves about 630,000 customers in the St. Louis area and parts of eastern Missouri. Missouri Gas Energy serves more than 500,000 customers in the Kansas City area and parts of western Missouri.
St. Louis-based Laclede Gas announced last December that it would pay about $1 billion to buy Missouri Gas Energy and New England Gas Co.
The deal approved by Missouri regulators bars Laclede Gas from seeking a general rate increase in its current service area until October 2015. But it could seek an immediate rate increase for the Missouri Gas Energy territory.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Governor Jay Nixon vetoed legislation that would have expanded an infrastructure surcharge for gas companies.
Gas utilities have been allowed to seek approval from the Public Service Commission to levy a surcharge for infrastructure replacements. The charge is levied between formal rate cases, and the gas companies must file for a more involved rate case every three years.
The legislation would have required full rate cases every five years and would have increased the cap on how much gas companies could collect through the surcharge.
Nixon said the legislation also would have allowed companies to recover from customers much of the uncollectable debt from customers who do not pay.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says he hopes a bill that would kick-start high-volume oil and gas drilling passes "swiftly" through the Illinois House and Senate after a House committee voted to send it to the full House.
The House Executive Committee voted 11-0 Tuesday to approve a measure regulating hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" - the use of high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals to crack rock formations deep underground and release oil and natural gas.
Proponents say it's safe and would create jobs in cash-strapped southern Illinois. Quinn has promised to sign the bill.
Opponents worry that fracking could cause air and water pollution and deplete water resources.
They favor a two-year moratorium on the practice, but House and Senate bills calling for a pause have been stalled.