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Ameren MEEIA plan takes center stage at PSC agenda

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) met for their regularly scheduled agenda meeting, which lasted an hour and a half.

The commission determined at the meeting that a Missouri Energy Efficiency Investment Act (MEEIA) plan proposed by Ameren Missouri for the next three year period failed to meet the requirements set by Missouri law. The current plan expires at the end of the year. 

As a result, the commission voted unanimously (5-0) to not accept Ameren Missouri’s proposal after extensive discussion.

The decision comes within a day of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy releasing its annual scorecard, which ranks states based on either efficiency policies. Missouri ranked 44th in 2014 for the second year in a row, falling from its previous place of 43rd in the nation.

The PSC said it hopes that Ameren Missouri will consider the commission’s decision and present a new MEEIA plan that all parties and the commission can support. Though participation is voluntary, the PSC stressed the importance of efficiency for consumers’ and producers’ wallets.

“In essence, MEEIA is designed to encourage Missouri’s investor-owned utilities to offer and promote energy efficiency programs and projects designed to reduce the amount of electricity used by the utility’s customers,” said the Commission.  “The law recognizes that under traditional regulation, a utility has a strong financial incentive to sell as much electricity to its customers as possible because more sales result in greater profits. MEEIA creates an opportunity to change that financial incentive to better align the utility’s financial interest with the public interest in encouraging the efficient use of energy.

“MEEIA is permissive in nature and, by its express language, does not require utilities to offer demand-side programs. MEEIA allows such demand-side programs only so long as those programs are approved by the Commission, result in measurable demand or energy savings, and are beneficial to all customers.  The Commission is thus responsible for reviewing a utility’s MEEIA plan and determining whether the plan accomplishes the goals of MEEIA.”

The Ameren Missouri MEEIA plan considered in this case would cover the years 2016-2018 and would cost ratepayers upwards of $250 to $300 million over the three years.  The commission determined the plan did not have adequate mechanisms in place to verify that, in fact, all ratepayers were benefitting from the MEEIA programs and not just those ratepayers participating in the programs. 

“Simply put, the Commission would approve a MEEIA plan if non-participating ratepayers would be better off paying to help some ratepayers reduce usage than they would be paying a utility to build a power plant.  Unfortunately, that is not the case here,” said the commission.  “The evidence in this case shows that most Ameren Missouri customers will likely receive very little, if any, overall net benefits from the Utility Plan.  Approximately 87 percent of Ameren Missouri’s customers are residential customers.  And a vast majority of those do not participate in MEEIA.”

The PSC noted that without a mechanism such as retrospective Evaluation, Measurement and Verification (EM&V), it would be impossible for anyone to know how much Ameren Missouri collects from customers for energy savings that never materialized. 

“It is clear Ameren Missouri has been over-compensated under Cycle 1, and it is almost certain the over-compensation would be exacerbated under the Utility Plan,” the Commission said in a statement.  “However, without retrospective EM&V, it would be impossible for anyone to know how much Ameren Missouri collects from customers for energy savings that never materialized.”

The PSC also determined that it could not approve a plan that rewards a company for reductions in demand without requiring the company to show it has foregone supply-side earnings related to that reduction in demand.

“The Commission is well aware of the value of MEEIA and continues to support the policies MEEIA established for the state of Missouri,” the PSC said. “Ameren Missouri’s Cycle 1 Plan laid the groundwork for MEEIA implementation in all Missouri’s regulated utilities, and the company is to be commended for that leadership.  However, the Commission cannot approve a MEEIA plan in this case that results in ratepayers paying for more energy savings than the MEEIA plan actually causes.  Furthermore, even if the proposed plan included a mechanism for measuring actual energy savings, the Commission cannot approve a plan that rewards the company for reductions in demand without requiring the company to show it has forgone supply-side earnings related to that reduction in demand.”

Ameren has several cases before the PSC currently, including a gas rate decrease case, and an application for an electric transmission line, which will have hearings in Northeast Missouri next week.

Tariff and New Orders
Item No. Case/Tracking No. Company Name/Brief Description Lead Staff/Additional Staff Contact(s)
1. ER-2014-0370 Kansas City Power & Light Company — Order Denying Applications for Rehearing of Report and Order Bushmann
2. ER-2014-0370 Kansas City Power & Light Company — Order Denying Applications for Rehearing Regarding Approval of Compliance Tariff Sheets Bushmann
3. WA-2015-0169 TUK LLC — Order Approving Stipulation and Agreement and Granting Certificate of Convenience and Necessity Bushmann
4. WA-2015-0049 Branson Cedars Resort Utility Company LLC — Order Approving Tariffs Jordan
5. WR-2015-0192 Ozark International, Inc. — Order Suspending Tariffs and Notice of Contested Case Jordan
6. EO-2015-0055 Union Electric Company — Report and Order Pridgin
7. EO-2015-0084 Ameren Missouri — Order Regarding Integrated Resource Plan Pridgin
8. MO-2016-0035 Manufactured Housing Consumer Recovery Advisory Committee — Order Granting Disbursement from Recovery Fund Pridgin
9. EC-2015-0309 Kansas City Power & Light Company — Order Regarding KCP&L and GMO’s Motion to Continue the Motion for Summary Determination Woodruff
10. SA-2016-0030 Peaceful Valley Service Company — and WA-2016-0031 — Order Recognizing Nonprofit Status Burton
11. SC-2014-0214 Osage Water Company — and WC-2014-0215 — Summit Investment, LLC, v. Osage Water Company — Report and Order Burton
Case Discussion
Item No. Case No. Company Name/Brief Description Lead Staff/Additional Staff Contact(s)
1. EO-2016-0037 Ameren Missouri — Memorandum: Special Contemporary Issues for Ameren Missouri to Address in its 2016 IRP Annual Update Report Woodruff
2. EO-2016-0038 Kansas City Power & Light Company — Memorandum: Special Contemporary Issues for KCP&L to Address in its 2016 IRP Annual Update Report Woodruff
3. EO-2016-0039 KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations Company — Memorandum: Special Contemporary Issues for GMO to Address in its 2016 IRP Annual Update Report Woodruff
4. EO-2016-0040 Empire District Electric Company, The — Memorandum: Special Contemporary Issues for The Empire District Electric Company to Address in its 2016 Triennial IRP Filing Woodruff
5. WR-2015-0301 Missouri-American Water Company — Discussion – Local Public Hearings Jones
6. WR-2015-0192 Ozark International, Inc. — Case Discussion – Local Public Hearings Jordan
7. EE-2016-0090 Ameren Missouri — Case Discussion Woodruff
Other Discussion
Other Description Brief Description Lead Staff/Additional Staff Contact(s)
Commission Scheduling Matters Hall
Legislation Hall
Budget Hall
Other Renewal of Spiegel & McDiarmid and McCarter & English Contracts Brueggemann
Other Closed Minutes for October 8, 2015. Woodruff
Other Sunshine Request Woodruff
Closed Session Hall
Litigation Hall
Personnel Hall