PSC gives update on Clean Line case, slaps Summit with $75k fine

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – More than a few eyes took notice of the listed agenda issued the day before the Missouri Public Service Commission, which included an item that many had been waiting for: the case on the Grain Belt transmission lines.

The item in question concerned a notice regarding the case status for the Grain Belt Express Clean Line’s application for a certificate of convenience and necessity.

Chairman Daniel Hall said the item had been put on the agenda because the PSC staff had been receiving press inquiries on the status of the case.

He said they wanted to let the public know where they were on the issue because “there was silence from this building on the issue.”

He said the reason no decision had been made at this time is that a case pending before the Supreme Court could potentially have an effect on the case and that they were monitoring that case, but gave no indication on timing. The commission agreed that there was no need to set forth a specific schedule, after which the item was withdrawn from the agenda.

The commission ruled on five other orders and tariffs in Wednesday’s weekly agenda meeting, approving a procedural schedule for a Laclede Gas Company rate case set to begin in December and an order modifying a prior report for Kansas City Power & Light’s rate case. Hall said the reason for that second order was to “modify our base factor determination in order to reflect two other determinations.” It was approved unanimously.

The PSC also approved Union Electric Company’s application requesting authority to issue $425 million and use those proceeds to pay off existing debt and refinance longterm debts.

The PSC all agreed it was in public interest and that no opposition had been seen, so they approved it with a 5-0 vote.

They also approved yet another order overturning the North American Numbering Plan Administrator’s Decision, granting the usage of numbers to Windstream Missouri, LLC.

The PSC’s final order issued in the day was an order approving a second amended partial stipulation and agreement for Summit Natural Gas of Missouri, Inc.

In the agreement, Summit acknowledges that without the PSC’s prior approval, it constructed and installed a gas plant used to provide utility service. Summit also acknowledged that it served and billed one hundred and sixty customers for utility service outside the boundary of its certificated area, violating the statute.

Under the terms of the agreement, Summit agrees to pay the sum of $75,000 to the Public School Fund of the State of Missouri. An initial payment of $15,000 shall be made within a week of the effective date of a Commission order approving the agreement, so a week from Wednesday. Summit will then make annual payments of $15,000 for the next four years. Summit agrees not to seek recovery of the $75,000 in rates, and in return, the PSC staff agrees not to seek or support the imposition of penalties against Summit.

That order was approved 5-0.