Commission welcomes Silvey, grants CCN in ATXI transmission line case

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Public Service Commission on Wednesday welcomed the newest commissioner and former senator, Ryan Silvey, to the table.

Chairman Daniel Hall officially welcomed Silvey to the PSC, saying they were very excited for him to join us.

“I’ve heard from several watchers of the PSC, they’ve never seen an announcement, appointment, confirmation, and swearing-in go as quickly as that of yours,” Hall said with a laugh. “You were clearly doing something right.”

Commissioner Bill Kenney called it a historic moment, noting that once again, four former state senators would be serving on the commission. Kenney also didn’t miss the opportunity to remind Chairman Hall of the fact, who had never served in the Senate, even going so far as to provide name cards for each of the members of the commission.

Commissioner Scott Rupp quickly told the newest commissioner that would be the most fun he would have for the next six years.

Jokes aside, the commission quickly got to work for Silvey’s first agenda meeting, ruling on four tariffs and new orders.

The first order concerned the setting of local public hearings for Liberty Utilities in the matter of a general rate increase for natural gas service.

The order would set five public hearings in Butler, Sikeston, Jackson, Palmyra, and Kirksville in late March. The order was approved 5-0.

The second also concerned a motion requesting local public hearings for the case involving Empire District Electric’s request for approval of its customer savings plan.

“This is the case where Empire is attempting to close a coal plant in Asbury, about 200 megawatts and construct as much in wind,” Hall said. “It’s an extremely complicated case, in fact, it’s unprecedented.

Hall said that the company’s request for a local public hearing was unusual, but said he believed it was appropriate and should be granted.

With a 5-0 vote, the commission approved the order, setting a local public hearing for Feb. 8 in Joplin.

The third order of the day concerned Ameren Missouri’s tariff adjustment for their MEEIA energy efficiency investment charge rider. The proposed EEIC Rider adjustment increases rates by roughly $31 million, which would amount to roughly a 22 cent decrease in the EEIC Rider charge for the average residential customer.

The PSC staff responded, supporting the tariff, and no party filed any opposition, so the commission approved the order with a 4-0 vote, with Silvey abstaining.

The final tariff and new order regarded Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois (ATXI)’s application for a CCN for a transmission line from Palmyra to Kirksville, better known as the “Mark Twain Transmission Line Project.”

The PSC had previously granted the CCN, and the Western District Court of Appeals overturned it, saying the company had not received county assent. The company reconfigured the line, got county assent, and

The PSC on Wednesday approved the unanimous stipulation and agreement between multiple organizations, stating that the CCN met the five criteria used when considering a CCN request:

  1. There must be a need for the service
  2. The applicant must be qualified to provide the proposed service
  3. The applicant must have the financial ability to provide the service
  4. The applicant’s proposal must be economically feasible
  5. The service must promote the public interest.

The order was approved with a 4-0 vote, with Silvey once again abstaining.

The PSC also discussed a post-hearing memorandum regarding the Indian Hills rate case, working their way through some of the decision items. The judge needs an order issued as soon as possible, no later than the first week of February, so the commission will continue working on the case in the coming weeks.

Next week, the commission will meet at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, January 18.

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.

  
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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.