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PSC denies OPC requests for rehearings

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Following the cancellation of last week’s meeting, the Missouri Public Service Commission returned Wednesday for an afternoon agenda meeting.

Just four orders and new tariffs appeared before the commission, which the commissioners swiftly dealt with.

The first matter before the commission was in the case of Ridge Creek Development, L.L.C. The order presented before the commission would deny the staff’s motion for expedited treatment and injunction as moot.

“This concerns a complaint filed by staff alleging that the company was failing to provide safe and adequate service,” Chairman Daniel Hall said.

Hall said that the company hired a plumber to address the issues, so the issue has been resolved. The commission unanimously voted in favor of the order.

The PSC also denied an application by the Office of the Public Counsel, requesting a rehearing in the PSC’s granting of a pilot program to Ameren Missouri.

The OPC maintains that the PSC unlawfully granted the order, allowing Ameren Missouri to construct an unknown number of new generation facilities in unknown locations. They say that the PSC is required to approve EACH public utility construction. OPC also maintains that the PSC had forgotten their duty is to the public, not helping utilities maximize profits.

The OPC also filed another request for a rehearing, this one in the matter of Laclede Gas Company’s application to change its Infrastructure System Replacement Surcharge (ISRS). OPC called the order “unreasonable”, saying that it raises rates on customers and businesses unjustly. The OPC also argues that the replacing of piping was not “worn out or in deteriorated condition”, meaning the costs cannot be recovered through the ISRS because they were not installed “to comply with state or federal safety requirements as replacements for existing facilities that have worn out or in deteriorated condition”, but rather to enable Laclede to increase pressure through its pipe system from low pressure to intermediate pressure.

The commission unanimously approved both orders, denying both applications for a rehearing.

The final order before the PSC also included OPC, establishing a proposed procedural schedule in their complaint against Kansas City Power & Light Company and KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations Company.

OPC filed the complaint in December of 2016, saying that the defendants have deliberately chosen to ignore the Commission’s Report and Order in EC-2015-0309 and violate Commission Rule 4 CSR 240-20.015(2)(C) by transferring customer information and calls to Allconnect, Inc., a third-party telemarketer, without informed customer consent in exchange for a fee. The proposed schedule would set evidentiary hearings to be held on August 1-2, 2017.

“I don’t quite understand why we need three rounds of written testimony on this; either they’re complying or they’re not,” Hall said.

“All we’re doing is wasting ratepayer money,” Commissioner Bill Kenney commented on the order’s established schedule.

That sentiment was echoed by the other commissioners, but all agreed to approve the order.