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Letter to the Editor: Monopoly electric utilities are at it again


Over 40 high paid lobbyists employed by Ameren, KCP&L and other electric providers have once again descended upon the capitol building. Their mission is to convince legislators to force the Public Service Commission (PSC) to change their rate making authority and oversight of these money hungry monopolies with passage of Senate Bill 190. Widely known as the “utility tax.”

The PSC was established to ensure fairness and to monitor the operations and profitability of these monopolies. The goal of these utility companies for many years has been to diminish the PSC oversight. Case in point; Ameren currently has the authority to earn 9.53% return on equity, and now wants 9.90%.

Consumers, such as big and small businesses, schools, churches, and the struggling, hardworking families across this state have no choice from whom to purchase their electricity. Because of this, and by diminishing oversight of the PSC thru SB190, utilities would spend their way to even larger profits.

Let’s briefly examine the latest strategy to by-pass PSC oversight. SB190 does the following: allows utilities to invest without cause for higher returns. SB190 has the potential to increase your electric bill another 38.74% – over and above normal rate cases. Since 2007, Ameren alone has raised electric rates 49%.

Utilities argue they are not making enough money to appease Wall Street. Over the last 5 years Ameren’s stock price has increased over 64% and KCP&L 48%. KCP&L announced last summer that it was purchasing another utility for a $2.3 Billion premium. Clearly, these monopolies have more than enough capital to make the investments needed to keep reliable service. Ameren and KCP&L were recently awarded the J.D. Power Award for being #1 and #2 in the Midwest for customer reliability.

The Goose that has been laying the “Golden Egg” for over 103 years is apparently not good enough now for these Wall Street insiders, and the overpaid executives with their “Golden Parachutes.”

Senator Doug Libla – Chairman, Small Business and Industry
Senator Gary Romine – Chairman, Education