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Letter to the Editor: Webb opposes Bad Debt surcharge

  

There is an old saying that laws are like sausage, its better not to see them made. Senate Bill 240 is one of the best examples of this saying I can think of.

I have always been someone you would call a utility supporter, and as the record shows I voted for SB 240, commonly known as Gas ISRS, and when there was an amendment offered to take the bad debt surcharge out of the bill, I voted against that as well.

Rep. Steve Webb, D-Florissant
Rep. Steve Webb, D-Florissant

During a lengthy debate of SB 240 on the House floor one night, the conversation became heated and took on more of a personal tone rather than one that positively promotes a serious energy policy for our state.

The impression that the governor supported the bad debt portion of the bill was given during debate. Im not so clear on whether or not that is Gov. Nixon’s position. And I’m sure I wont truly know until he decides if he will or will not veto SB 240.

I am confident that our natural gas companies have been responsible with their existing ISRS allowances and I continue to support that policy. But, I believe that the bill does not need the bad debt portion to be effective.

What I am sure of is that this state needs an energy policy, and the way that this debate ends up each year we have no hope of reaching a sensible policy that fosters growth in our state. We need an energy policy that ensures the viability of our utilities while keeping costs low for consumers and job creators.

I am interested to see what the governor’s decision will be.

If it is made law, I will lead the charge in striking the bad debt surcharge from it in the next legislative session.

If it is not, I understand the governor’s decision and work to pass a better piece of legislation in the next session without the the bad debt surcharge.

Our energy policy has to be fostered through good faith efforts from all involved. The conversation has to be constructive and considerate of all who has a stake in it. All hands on deck!

I hope people on both sides of the issue understand that the time to get something done is now. We need an aggressive energy policy. That being said, the industries that are important to the Missouri’s economy have to have certainty when it comes to there energy rates.

A new tone in this debate is badly needed. A tone that looks for compromise instead of contention.

I hope we can begin the next session with a renewed relationships and the belief that we can get something done that moves Missouri’s energy policy to be the best in the country.

— Rep. Steve Webb, D-Florissant
Ranking Member on the House Utilities Committee