PSC takes steps to change rules to improve transparency

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – With a busy week centered around hearings on the Grain Belt Express line, the Missouri Public Service Commission carved out time Wednesday afternoon to sign off on four tariffs and new orders.

The PSC’s first order of business was to take up an order of rulemaking in regards to the confidential information rule. The commission agreed to the new text for the rule, which included all of the comments, and approved it 5-0. Commissioner Maida Coleman said it simply worked toward additional transparency.

The rule will now be sent to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, and Judge Morris Woodruff said it will remain with JCAR for 30 days before it can be filed, and expects the rule to become effective sometime this summer.

The commission also discussed a similar case, regarding the ex parte rules as they apply to utility companies. The PSC has been working with others, including the Office of Public Counsel, to amend some of the statutes to better serve and make the rules more easily understood.

Chairman Daniel Hall said that their goals are to comply with Missouri statute 386.210, sub 4, which mandates that Commission rules not impose, quote, any limitation on the free exchange of ideas, views and information between any person and the Commission or any commissioner as long as those communications do not relate to substantive matters in pending cases.

But they hope to simplify what has become a very complex and convoluted set of rules and enable all parties to be treated the same under the rules. Hall says it’s only fair that since the statutes do not draw any distinctions between litigants, the PSC rules should not either.

The commission reviewed proposed changes to other rules during the agenda meeting, and hope to vote on them in the coming weeks.

But knowing that the evidentiary hearings would resume after the agenda meeting the committee made quick work of the remaining orders and tariffs.

They unanimously approved Kansas City Power & Light’s tariff to change their fuel adjustment clause rates. The monthly rates are expected to increase by roughly $3.56, effective April 1, 2017.

The commission also approved a compliance tariff from Ameren Missouri, effective April 1, 2017. The stipulation on which the order was based comes from an agreement on March 8th which would allow Ameren Missouri to increase their annual electric operating revenues by approximately $92 million, a monthly increase of roughly $3.70 for a typical residential customer.

The last official item under new orders and tariffs was an order that would allow United Way of Greater St. Louis, Inc. to continue serving as a 211 information and referral provider for the area.

Next week, the commission will not be holding an agenda meeting, as there is not currently a list of pressing items that need to be addressed.

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