JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Public Service Commission’s final meeting before the Thanksgiving holiday featured an unusually high amount of tariffs and new orders on the agenda.
Although four of the members were only able to attend by phone, it didn’t take long for the commissioners to work through each order, approving all 15 orders in roughly 45 minutes.
One of the first orders the PSC tackled was an order to grant a motion for default determination against Missouri Utilities Company. The order centers on a complaint filed by the staff which shows the company had failed to file annual reports in 2013, 2014 and 2015. After unanimous approval, general counsel is now instructed to file a suit in the circuit court.
“This is obviously an unfortunate circumstance, but it is what it is,” Chairman Daniel Hall said. We have rules in place, and there is a statutory requirement that has been violated, so I believe we have no choice but to enter default judgment.”
The majority of the time was spent on four orders, all of which were centered on the multi-billion dollar merger of Great Plains Energy Incorporated and Westar Energy. The whole issue with the merger centers around a complaint that says Westar violated the law by not seeking prior authorization from the commission before disposing or consolidating its system in regards to the acquisition by Great Plains Energy.
The first order in this matter to come before the commission on Thursday concerned an order that would grant several groups an application to intervene. The groups consisted of the Midwest Energy Consumers Group, the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA), the Consumers Council of Missouri, Sierra Club, the City of Independence, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Unions No. 412, 1464, and 1613. Brightergy, LLC, Earth Island Institute d/b/a Renew Missouri, and the Missouri Industrial Energy Consumers (MIEC). The PSC unanimously approved each group’s application, saying their interests in intervening differ from that of the general public, but also serves in the public interest.
The commission also agreed to direct the parties involved to file a proposed procedural schedule in order to move forward.
The final two orders in this matter to go before the commission were requests from staff to be excused from filing a recommendation. The commission denied those requests.
The commission also chose to move forward and send their proposed rule changes and new rules for state statutes to the Secretary of State’s office.
The PSC also approved a joint application from Ameren and Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative to specify territory lines between the two companies’ service areas.
They also approved a compliance tariff for Summit Natural Gas, an order approving a fuel adjustment “true-up” and change to the fuel adjustment clause rates for Empire District Electric Company, and an order granting a temporary waiver for certain state criteria for eligibility for the Lifeline Program. In addition to those orders, the commissioners also approved a tariff revision for KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations Company.
The PSC’s next meeting will not take place until Nov. 30 due to the Thanksgiving holiday. They will meet at the normal 9:30 a.m. time on that Wednesday.
Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.