This Week in the PSC: November 28, 2018

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Public Service Commission moved swiftly through a dozen agenda items on Wednesday, ranging from county intervention to tariffs to scheduling.

In span of just less than 30 minutes, the PSC moved through a total of 12 reports and new orders before moving into closed session. The commission finished out the Wednesday meeting with a presentation by Summit Utilities on the Lebanon LNG Project.

The meeting kicked off with the commission directing staff to file a complaint against RDE Water Company. RDE Water has failed to file a statement confirming that they established a qualification process. The commission has twice requested the confirmation and has not received a response from the company.

The PSC approved an agreement granting a certificate of convenience and necessity to Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois to acquire certain electrical facilities near Rolla, Missouri and to own, operate, maintain, and control those facilities as well as adjacent facilities ATXI plans to construct.

As part of the proposed project, ATXI plans to acquire certain electrical facilities owned by the City of Rolla, acting by and through its Board of Public Works. Since RMU is not under the Commission’s jurisdiction, the Commission stated ATXI’s acquisition of those assets does not require Commission approval.

Missouri-American Water Company is reviewing its training process and offering remedial training to ensure their representatives know the procedures and timeline for discontinuance of service following a complaint. Teresa Jones filed the complaint alleging that Missouri-American improperly discontinued her water service.

The commission found that she was not given proper notice that her service would be disconnected. The PSC’s investigation and report revealed that multiple representatives and a supervisor for Missouri-American were unaware of the time constraints for discontinuing service.

The PSC also approved an tariff sheet for Liberty Utilities reflecting changes in Liberty’s Purchased Gas Adjustment factor as a result of estimated changes in the cost of natural gas, as well as changes in the Actual Cost Adjustment factor.

Customers will see a decrease between 15 cents and 48 cents per hundred cubic feet depending upon the region they live in. The new rates take effect on December 1, 2018.

New rates for Liberty Utilities water and sewer services were also approved. The company was authorized to increase rates due to investments made in its systems and to address increases in operation and maintenance expenses since the company’s last rate cases.

“Liberty has invested approximately $1,952,614 for water improvements and $621,830 for sewer improvements. No party challenged the necessity of those improvements,” noted the commission.

Liberty Utilities was approved to increase annual water and sewer operating revenues by approximately $1 million. Rates, which go into effect December 8, 2018, for a majority of customers using 2,000 gallons monthly with roughly double.

The PSC also approved an tariff sheet for Empire District Gas Company reflecting changes in Empire’s Purchased Gas Adjustment factor as a result of estimated changes in the cost of natural gas, as well as changes in the Actual Cost Adjustment factor.

Customers will see a decrease between 3 cents and 9 cents per hundred cubic feet depending upon the region they live in. The new rates take effect on December 1, 2018.

DeKalb County’s application to intervene is the case where Ameren Missouri is seeking to build a wind farm in Atchison County was granted.

During the hearing the commission noted that DeKalb’s reason for intervention was “lame” but their citizen has previously shown an interest in the matter.

The PSC scheduled a local public hearing in the case. The hearing will be held at University of Missouri – Atchison County Extension on Monday, January 14, 2019, beginning at 12:00 p.m.

In a separate matter, Ameren Missouri was ordered to establish the Actual Cost Adjustment account balances in its next Actual Cost Adjustment.

Ameren Missouri’s request for variance was also granted. The order allows Ameren to file its triennial Integrated Resource Plan with the PSC by October 1, 2020, instead of April 1, 2020.

The PSC also approved an order opening a fact-finding investigation into the status of American Broadband and Telecommunications Company, doing business as American Assistance, as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier. This comes after the Federal Communications Commission acted against American Assistance, alleging that the company has committed repeated, systematic and large-scale violations of FCC rules governing the Lifeline Program.

The investigation will look into whether or not the company has violated any laws applicable to its provision of Lifeline service in Missouri. This is not a contested case and for fact-finding only.

The PSC also ordered the filing of proposed rule changes regarding gas utilities with the Secretary of State for publication in the Missouri Register as proposed rescissions and new rules.

They are proposing to rescind the existing 4 CSR 240-3.235, 260 and .275, and to replace those rules with similar requirements in new rules 4 CSR 240-40.085 and 4 CSR 240-40.090.

Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at alisha@themissouritimes.com.