This Week in the Missouri PSC: June 20, 2018

  

PSC approves schedules for rate changes created by new law

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – “We have a very full agenda today,” Chairman Daniel Hall announced as the Missouri Public Service Commission met for their weekly agenda meeting on June 20.

And with 16 new tariffs and orders before them, as well as two case discussions, Hall wasn’t kidding. But, the commission managed to roll through all of them in roughly 45 minutes.

Perhaps the biggest news to take away from the meeting is that the commission has established a procedural schedule to adjust electric rates for some public utilities as established by the passage of SB 564 this past legislative session. In the matter of Ameren, an evidentiary hearing will be held on July 24, while the hearing for Empire District is scheduled for July 20 & 23.

The commission also accepted the ending ACA balances in three cases (Spire Missouri, Laclede Gas, and Missouri Gas Energy) on Wednesday morning, on the recommendation of the PSC staff.

The commission also approved an order accepting a staff report and closing the file on the investigation into interruption of gas deliveries in Lebanon. Staff concluded that there were interruptions, but they were pursuant to tariffs, so no violations occurred.

Another order approved with a 5-0 vote was staff’s request for a variance in filing requirements for telecommunication carriers, who are required to file by July 1st, with one such requirement coming from the FEC. Chairman Hall noted that the FEC had given an extension to July 16, and said that it was “necessary” that they do the same.

The commission also approved the 2017 Renewable Energy Standards Compliance Reports for Empire District, KCPL, and KCPL GMO. In addition to that, they approved a limited waiver at the request of KCPL and KCPL GMO concerning one of the rules about meter readings, which staff recommended to be granted. They also approved KCPL and GMO’s 2018 RES Compliance plans.

The five commissioners also dealt with the assessment against public utilities for expenses of the commission. The Commission will allocate a proportionate share of the $18,750,109 to each of the utility industry groups as follows:

Electric …………………………..… $ 8,442,062

Gas ……………………………….… $ 5,880,780

Steam/Heating …………………… $ 49,104

Water & Sewer……………………. $ 3,074,056

Telephone………………………….. $ 1,304,107

The commission also denied a motion for summary determination or dismissal in the matter of the Missouri Propane Gas Association’s complaint against Summit Natural Gas, whom they alleged had violated one of the commission’s orders from 2014 by disregarding manufacturers’ specifications and converting four vent-free fireplaces from propane to natural gas. The commission denied the motion, saying that an installer from Summit should have expertise well beyond that of the average customer.

They also approved the stipulation in the Liberty Utilities case, setting an effective date of July 1, and denied Missouri-American Water Company’s application for a rehearing.

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.