This Week in the Missouri PSC: July 26, 2017

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – “It is already over but it was epic I tell you. Epic!”

Those were the words tweeted by Missouri Public Service commissioner Scott Rupp following the latest agenda meeting.

Three items appeared on the Wednesday agenda, which took the commission all of 23 minutes to go through.

The first item to be approved was a motion to dismiss, put forward by Great Plains Energy. The company had been seeking the PSC’s approval for their proposed transaction to acquire Westar Energy, which became a heavily-debated item in both Missouri and Kansas.

But a denial of their application in Kansas led to the suspending of the case here in Missouri, and in that time, the two companies have come forth with a new plan to merge the companies into a new one. And with such a plan, it negates the need for any further work on the current case in the PSC’s docket, as a new application must be filed. The PSC agreed that the motion to dismiss was reasonable, and gave leave to dismiss the case, effective August 5.

The second order of the day concerned a rate increase for Terre Du Lac Utilities. That company had filed a letter with the Commission’s Small Utility Rate Case Procedure in October of 2016, asking for an annual water rate increase of $134,000 as well as an annual sewer rate increase of $8,700. The company serves more than 1,200 customers with each service. The PSC scheduled an evidentiary hearing for July 2017, but a week before the hearing was due to happen, the parties filed a unanimous stipulation and agreement to resolve all of the issues.

Under the agreement, Terre Du Lac will file revised tariff sheets that will produce an increase in gross annual revenue for $78,000 in water and $4,724 in sewer.

Here are the numbers for how each rate will change, per the PSC filing:

The current water usage rate of $1.38 per 1,000 gallons will increase to $1.80.

The current $11.14 water service charge for 5/8″ or 3/4″ customers will increase to $14.50, while the $28.53 service charge for 1″ customers will increase to $37.14.

The current $19.41 sewer service charge for 5/8″ or 3/4″ customers will increase to $19.72, while the $48.52 sewer service charge for 1″ customers will increase to $49.29.

The third item of the day concerned the rescinding of the PSC’s Chapter 3 procedural rules, as those rules have now been incorporated into the revised Chapter 20 rules regarding demand side programs as related to the MEEIA program. The rules, which have been submitted to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) for approval, concern the information that an electric utility was required to provide when it was asking for approval, modification, or the discontinuance of demand-side programs and demand side program investment mechanisms.

“We don’t need the same rules in two places,” Chairman Daniel Hall said.

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 benjamin@themissouritimes.com or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.