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Column: In support of electric rate, ISRS legislation

In support of SB207 & HB398:
Irl Scissors
Executive Director, Missourians for Balanced Energy Future

The Infrastructure Strengthening and Regulatory Streamlining (ISRS) legislation introduced by Sen. Mike Kehoe and Rep. Jeanie Riddle is critical to our state’s energy and economic future. If passed, SB207/HB398 will bring much-needed efficiencies and upgrades to Missouri’s electric regulatory structure.  It also will create thousands of jobs and improve the overall safety and reliability of Missouri’s electrical grid.Logo1

ISRS means a modernized electric infrastructure attracting new technology and investment and efficiency. ISRS would create a more efficient cost-recovery process, enabling Missouri utilities to make smarter, needed investments more quickly. An updated regulatory structure will secure our long-term, clean energy supply and spur economic growth. Surrounding states have already taken the necessary steps to modernize their electric infrastructure with the goal of attracting high tech industries and jobs; Missouri cannot afford to fall behind.  Data centers, smartgrid technology, renewable energy and small modular nuclear reactors all require updated and efficient electric infrastructure.

ISRS will create jobs almost immediately.  Our electric utilities are prepared to invest one billion dollars in improvements if our regulations are streamlined – investments that would create jobs for workers across the state.  In fact, it is estimated that for every $100 million in investments, 1,000 new, high-paying and much needed jobs are created.

ISRS means more efficient reliable power to our homes and businesses. Missouri’s aging coal plants provide 80 percent of the electric power for our homes and businesses.  As an electric power customer, reliable service remains a top priority. Continuing to rely on aging coal plants supported by a century-old regulatory model is not a way forward for Missouri. ISRS will put in place are regulatory framework allowing electric utilities to upgrade existing infrastructure which allow new generation plants to come on line more efficiently.  SB207 allows for upgrades to our transmission grid, to better serve Missouri’s electric customers. Simply put, ISRS would modernize our electric infrastructure.

ISRS will keep our electric rates low and predictable.  SB207 provides a strict annual rate cap to eliminate future rate spikes, meaning more predictable rates for customers.  Missouri is home to some of the cheapest electric rates in the country and we want to keep it that way. Smarter, more regular investments mean a more consistent, transparent cost-recovery process – and less costs incurred by compounding interest.  More efficient energy also means lower rates for customers. Furthermore, the Public Service Commission maintains complete authority and oversight over any such investments.

ISRS treats Missouri gas, water and electric utilities fairly.  Our state’s water and gas utilities have used ISRS for 10 years. In that time, these regulations have allowed water and gas utilities to make much needed infrastructure investments to better serve their customers. That means jobs and economic development for those utilities and Missouri’s highly skilled workforce.

ISRS means affordable rates and reliable electricity. When companies decide where to base their operations, they look for cheap and reliable electricity to meet their needs. Missouri must remain competitive if we want to attract job-creating industries of the future, like Small Modular Reactors and new manufacturing to our state.  ISRS is the best path forward to creating new jobs and upgrades Missouri’s ever-important electric infrastructure.

Last week, the Missouri PSC responded to a request from Senator Kehoe with regard to ISRS.

ISRS is sensible regulation. The PSC released their analysis dispelling any falsities that connect ISRS with rate hikes. The PSC letter stated, “The revenue requirement per (each) rate class with ISRS or without ISRS (normal rate case) will not vary ($0 difference) except for timing difference.” Missouri consumers are fully protected as the PSC maintains full authority to prudently review any costs related to ISRS or otherwise.

We need ISRS now to create new jobs and new infrastructure in Missouri.

Irl Scissors