This Week in the PSC: June 5, 2019

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Aside from approving an acquisition order pertaining to the proposed Grain Belt Express project, the Public Service Commission (PSC) also agreed to mount an investigation into aspects of Missouri’s investor-owned electric utilities.

The investigation — rather, “fact-finding mission,” as the commissioners dubbed it — will look into the self-commit and self-scheduling practices, the PSC said.

Commissioner Daniel Hall, who brought the case before the regulatory committee, noted the PSC is not “indicating in any way that we thinking any of the [investor-owned utilities] have done something wrong.”

“I do think it’s appropriate for us to examine whether or not this practice is benefiting Missouri ratepayers,” Hall said.

Additionally, the PSC approved an order from Kansas City Power & Light Company and its Greater Missouri Operations Company to correct and reinstate a tariff that had been inadvertently superseded by a previous tariff sheet. The order was approved to go into effect in 10 days.

The PSC also approved an order rejecting a request from Missouri American Water Company stemming from what it said was a net operating loss. The commission said the company failed to make its case but did an include a provision in the order allowing Missouri American Water Company to circle back with the PSC should it receive a ruling from the Internal Revenue Service that the decision could inadvertently cause a normalization violation. Commissioners said they would revisit the issue if such a notice was received.

Also on Wednesday, the PSC approved Invenergy’s acquisition request of the Grain Belt Express project. The order, which was unanimously approved, places the same conditions on Invenergy as a previous certificate of convenience and necessity placed on Grain Belt.

Commissioners said they did not believe the acquisition to be “detrimental to the public interest” and lauded Invenergy’s past record.

“Following today’s unanimous acquisition decision by the Missouri Public Service Commission, Grain Belt Express now has all the necessary approvals from state regulators to proceed with project development,” Invenergy spokeswoman Beth Conley said.

The PSC has several upcoming public hearings pertaining to a natural gas rate case filed by Union Electric Company doing business as Ameren Missouri:

    • June 10 in Cape Girardeau
    • June 11 in Rolla
    • June 12 in Wentzville
    • June 12 in Columbia

Earlier this week, Renew Missouri, a group focused on renewable energy policy, filed a petition seeking to change the PSC’s rules pertaining to solar investments. The petition asks the commission change the standard offer cap for purchases from a qualifying facility by an electric company to 20,000 kilowatts, up from 5,000.