This Week in the PSC: March 6, 2019

   

PSC hears Ameren plan for implementing ‘smart energy’ practices

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Public Service Commission tackled multiple agenda items Wednesday as well as hearing an overview from Ameren on its plan to implement smart energy practices in the coming years.

Ameren officials unveiled what they called a “living plan” to implement “smart energy,” which included replacing older meters in Missouri with smart meters, contending they will be more cost-efficient and better for the consumer. The plan largely blocks 2019 as a year for development and architecture regarding the meters. But in 2020, Ameren said it intends to install about 120,000 meters — beginning in St. Charles — with an additional 240,000 meters per year beginning in 2021.

St. Charles was picked as the start location “because it has a good mix of urban and rural [areas] so we can see how the meters and the network performs,” officials said.

Officials said they’re looking to Ameren Illinois and how it has recently been rolling out smart meters – learning from its successes and problems.

Ameren also praised last year’s passage of SB 564 which overhauled how electrical companies were regulated and allowed them to use customer costs to make improvements to the electrical grid. Ameren officials said Wednesday they now have about $1.5 billion more to use for projects.

“I want to congratulate Ameren on its forward thinking. This plan looks really good. I think it’s exactly what was envisioned by the General Assembly when they passed 564,” Commissioner Daniel Hall said.

As for its agenda, PSC unanimously approved an order for a certificate of convenience and necessity for Ameren to build a wind generation facility in Atchison County. The commission noted it would like to see more wind generation in Missouri.

Additionally, the commission approved an order for Kansas City Power & Light Company and the Greater Missouri Operations Company to adhere to an $8,500 cost reduction from KCPL’s Demand Side Investment Mechanism with interest accruing from the beginning of the year, closing a prudence review.

The commission also allowed a case against GMO to move forward. The commission contended that GMO could “be ultimately the one that prevails,” but noted it needs to prevent its facts during an evidentiary hearing instead.

The commission also said it’s not commenting on the merits of the complaint, but rather allowing the case to continue.

The PSC has a planned agenda meeting for next Wednesday, March 13.