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Mike Cierpiot, Michelle Pleus recognized by Evergy for work on securitization bill

Sen. Mike Cierpiot and chief of staff Michelle Pleus were honored by Evergy this week for their efforts on a bill that will help utility companies transition to clean generation. 

The language allows utility companies to issue bonds to finance energy transition costs if approved by the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC), also known as securitization. The measure progressed through the upper chamber with little opposition and made it onto the governor’s desk as part of an omnibus utility bill signed into law in July. 

Pleus, in her first session on the legislative side of utility issues after a lobbying career, helped shepherd the complex language through the upper chamber the initial year it was proposed in the legislature. 

“It was awesome to get it there and pass it in its first year after all the work we put in,” Pleus told The Missouri Times. “It was my first time fighting for an issue in this role, and it was huge to get it done. I love my job, and it’s just icing on the cake to receive an award for it.”

Pleus helped Cierpiot respond to concerns raised by other legislators and stakeholders this session, working to come to a compromise that maintained the authority of the PSC and Office of Public Counsel (OPC) through a series of small changes to the language.

“We were proud to be honored; it was a collaborative effort getting the bill passed, and Michelle did amazing work,” Cierpiot said. “It will help utility companies and it was great to get it across the finish line in its first year.”

Evergy Power PAC’s Friend of the Grid award is presented every year to legislators and staff who have worked on energy-friendly legislation. Evergy President and CEO David Campbell presented the award to Cierpiot and Pleus Wednesday. 

Evergy, which established its goal for net-zero carbon emissions by 2045 earlier this year before the PSC, backed the legislative effort to encourage utilities to make the switch to clean generation. The commission previously required Evergy to set up a liability account for a coal plant shuttered in 2019, with then-Commissioner Daniel Hall suggesting a securitization bill

Cover photo depicts Cierpiot, Pleus, and Campbell.