PSC wraps up final agenda meeting of 2016

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Public Service Commission finished a grueling eight-stop schedule of public hearing on the Grain Belt transmission lines last week, and with the Christmas break and the new year in sight, the PSC held the final agenda meeting of the year on Wednesday.

Only four orders and one case discussion sat on the docket of Wednesday’s meeting, so the actions did not take long, just over half an hour.

The first order of business presented before the commission concerned an order granting an application to intervene out of time. The Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission (MJMEUC) filed for the order in the case of Great Plains Energy Incorporated’s merger with Westar.

Though the commission approved the order, they all seemed to agree that they made need to look into ways to better establish the disincentive to late filings.

The second order of business concerned a stipulation in Ameren Missouri’s rate case regarding a cost allocation manual.

“Essentially, what this stipulation does, it is essentially carving theses issues out of the rate case and putting them into a separate case. It also would establish a procedural schedule to adjudicate those issues in a separate issue,” Chairman Daniel Hall said. “I think it’s a reasonable way to resolve these issues.”

“I want to commend the parties, because this is the first time we’ve dealt with this cost allocation manual, the first time it will be in a case, and they want to be diligent and get it right,” Commissioner Bill Kenney said.

The order was approved by a unanimous 5-0 vote, and the next item approved was the adoption of a procedural schedule for the same issue. The commission also voted unanimously, approving a hearing to take place on September 26-28 in the coming year.

The final order concerned Ameren’s request to obtain a CCM to offer a pilot program for solar energy. The commission reviewed the final report in Wednesday’s hearing and was pleased with the findings. The full report can be viewed here.

“I think this order is completely consistent with what we have discussed in past meetings, and extremely well written,” Chairman Hall said. “It is crystal clear that, going forward, solar generation is going to be part of our energy future, and Ameren’s interest in trying to integrate that type of generation into its system is a very wise one, and a very interesting approach.”

The commission made sure that it was clear that this is not a model going forward, but a testing of the idea. A quick vote of 5-0 moved the agenda to the one case discussion on the docket.

This case discussion concerned the hearing that happened immediately after the agenda meeting, centering on a motion to dismiss oral arguments. The judge in the case said that the issue really hinges on the question of jurisdiction, saying that the motion to dismiss goes hand-in-hand with jurisdiction.

The PSC also approved a recommendation to release documents under a Sunshine Request, as well as approved the 2016 Annual Report forms and documents to be sent out to all utility providers and update forms on the PSC website.

The final order of business was a presentation from KCP&L on the Transource Midwest Transmission Project.

The PSC will not meet on Dec. 28, but will return to a normal schedule in January.

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