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Electric coalition expands TV ad campaign touting infrastructure surcharge

A coalition of utilities companies released a new commercial promoting their bill.
A coalition of utilities companies released a new commercial promoting their bill.

By Eli Yokley

— Supporters of legislation that would allow Missouri’s electric companies to seek rate increases to fund previously completed infrastructure projects released a new television commercial on Thursday touting two bills currently before the General Assembly.

In a 30-second spot paid for by Missourians for a Balanced Energy Future, the group — working independently alongside Ameren Missouri, Empire District Electric Company, and Kansas City Power & Light — attempts to make the case that improving energy infrastructure could have a positive impact on the state’s health care industry.

As part of the ad’s roll out, the group sent a statement to reporters from Sally Nance, the chief executive officer of Excelsior Springs Hospital, touting her support of the bill.

“Twenty-four hours a day, our medical providers rely on efficiently powered, life-saving technologies to deliver patient care. We need to make sure that our systems are as strong as they can be to protect against outages during major storms and other weather events,” she said. “That’s a safety issue for us, and for the families who have loved ones in our care.”

Senate Bill 207 and House Bill and House Bill 398 would allow invested-owned utility companies to petition the Public Service Commission to allow them to raise electric rates to fund infrastructure projects already completed, including improvements to power lines and towers, for example.

The legislation has received opposition from a coalition of business groups who claim the potential for raised electric rates could hurt their business.