PSC signs off on 15 orders, approves all Renewable Energy Standard compliance reports

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Public Service Commission and their staff, it seems, want to enjoy the 4th of July holiday like everyone else, which explains the whopping 15 tariffs and new orders on the docket for this week.

The Commission wasted little time, taking action on the 15 items in just 52 minutes on Wednesday morning.

The majority of the tariffs and new orders were in regard to the utilities’ compliance reports and plans for the Renewable Energy Standards. Each year, the electric utilities are required to file annual compliance reports and plans, highlighting how they are complying with the standards and what they plan to do for the next three years to continue complying.

The commission on Wednesday approved all six orders for Ameren Missouri, Empire District Electric Company, Kansas City Power and Light and KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations. The PSC staff did not find any deficiencies in the compliance reports, and only identified some concerns with Ameren and KCP&L’s plans in regard to the Retail Rate Impact (RRI) calculations, which the companies agreed to address in their next Integrated Resource Plans (IRP).

In Ameren’s case, the PSC noted that Renew Missouri had asserted that Ameren did not have a sustainable plan for complying with the RES in the future, but Chairman Daniel Hall pointed out the RES only requires the companies to plan for the next three years, and any further timeline is not required.

The PSC also approved an order to open an investigation into the City of New Florence to look into their compliance with natural gas rules set forth by the PSC.

Chairman Hall made sure to note that it was not a contested case, but rather just designed to facilitate an investigation.

The commission also improved a rate increase for Ridge Creek Water Company, with an estimated rate increase of about $53,000, putting the customer’s monthly rate at $33.02 and the commodity charge at $5.30 per 1,000 gallons.

The PSC also directed Ameren to work with Staff to file a proposed schedule of progress reports in regard to the implementation of recommendations made by staff following a natural gas incident that happened in Louisiana, Mo. back in 2015.

The PSC staff recommended that Ameren ensures that working fire extinguishers are available for personnel to use in emergencies, that Ameren determines the extent of missing service line records and work to gain the information going forward, and track and evaluate the risk of compression coupling failures.

Ameren agreed to all of the recommendations and is now subject to deliver progress reports on those items under this new order.

The commission also approved the modification of a stipulation for KCP&L, in which they asked to be excused from conducting a benefit-cost study and filing the 2017 Interim Reports. They argued that the exit fee obligations from SPP made the costs to perform the studies unwarranted, asking for an extension and postponement. Four commissioners approved the order, with Commissioner Scott Rupp voting against it, saying that it was just another instance in delaying studies and “kicking the can down the road.” He noted that, if the deadline is set for 2020 or 2021, most of the current commissioners will not be on the commission at that time.

The commission also opened a working case to review their rules regarding natural gas safety, in order to make sure they comply with federal standards and get input.

In addition to those orders, they also set a schedule for 11 local public hearings in Laclede/Missouri Gas Energy’s rate case, noting that since the company has such a wide footprint, the number of hearings was necessary.

They also approved a modification to Ameren’s PGA tariff with no real debate, before moving on to sign off on their proposed rule changes to the MEEIA program. Those changes now head to JCAR and then the Secretary of State’s office before being put into effect.

The final order of the day was to schedule two public hearings in the matter of reviewing their own rules and regulations, as required by an order issued by Gov. Eric Greitens. Those two public hearings will be held on August 15 and 17 in Jefferson City.

The PSC’s next agenda meeting will be on Wednesday, July 12, as they canceled the meeting for the next week’s 4th of July holiday.