This Week in the Missouri PSC: May 17, 2017

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Public Service Commission may have been down a member, but it surely did not slow them down as they rolled through four new tariffs and orders on Wednesday morning. With Chairman Daniel Hall presiding in person, Commissioners Bill Kenney, Stephen Stoll and Scott Rupp all attended the agenda meeting by phone, with Commissioner Maida Coleman unable to attend.

The first of the four items brought before the PSC concerned the transfer of assets between Taney County Utilities Corporation and Taney County Regional Sewer District. The land and assets in question would include service for 53 residential customers in the area. Under the agreement, the new owners would finish constructing a new facility by October 2017, which the commission said should rectify any concerns in relation to discharge violations brought forward by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Upon the transfer, the 53 customers in question would be subject to the same flat rate that applies to the current customers of Taney County Regional Sewer District, which the staff reports show to be $37.50. The order was approved by a 4-0 vote.

The commission also approved KCP&L GMO’s request in regards to their Renewable Energy Standard Rate Adjustment Mechanism (RESRAM). KCP&L submitted a revised tariff sheet, which, if approved by the PSC, would remove the RESRAM offset adjustment that was applicable for the period of December 2016 through May 2017. As a result, customers using 1,000 kWh per month will see a bill increase of approximately $0.32 per month. The commission approved the order with another unanimous vote.

The final two orders addressed by the PSC both concerned Empire District.

The first of the two items was Empire’s request for an increase in regards to the revised tariff sheet for their demand-side management (DSM) program. The Office of Public Counsel objected to the revised tariff sheets, saying they had not complied with the terms of the Rate Case Agreement that directed Empire and the DSM group to investigate Pay As You Save (“PAYS”) financing and similar programs and look into the feasibility of administering those programs within their service territory. Empire disagreed with OPC, which led the PSC to suspend the DSM tariff until parties had an opportunity to resolve the dispute.

The commission, in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Economic Development, came up with a stipulation and agreement that Empire complied with the terms of its rate case agreement. The commission on Wednesday approved the stipulation and agreement and ordered the signatories to comply with the terms, They also directed Empire to file new tariff sheets with the feasibility study included.

The final order the commission took up also concerned Empire, who had requested the PSC’s approval of true-up amounts in regards to their fuel adjustment clause (FAC).

The reasoning behind this, Chairman Hall said, was that Empire had alleged a true-up amount of $5,816 in under-recovery and interest. For a residential customer using 1,000 kWh per month, the tariff increases the FAC by approximately $6.25 per month, going up from -$4.57 to $1.68.

The last order of business brought before the PSC was case discussion. In Wednesday’s meeting, the commissioners addressed several items in regards to the Missouri Energy Efficiency Investment Act (MEEIA) rules, whether certain provisions serve a purpose or need to be modified.

The commission hopes to be able to vote on the proposed changes soon, but as Judge Morris Woodruff pointed out, thanks to rules put in place under Gov. Eric Greitens, any new rules must be reviewed by his office first. Woodruff said that these rule changes would need to pass through his office by the end of May, after which the commission would be able to vote on them.

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