JOPLIN -- Empire District Electric Company has filed a $30.7 million rate increase request with the Missouri Public Service Commission. The company cited an increase in fuel costs as the reason for the hike. An average customer would pay approximately $6 extra per month if the proposal is approved. Residents will have a chance to voice their opinion at a public hearing on Thursday, January 3 at Corley Auditorium on the campus of Missouri Southern State University. The first hearing will take place at noon, and the second will start at 6PM.