JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri is looking to implement an energy efficiency strategy that would provide benefits for consumers and utilities. The PSC met this morning to discuss the future of the MEEIA. This morning, the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC), passed an order opening a working case to review the effectiveness of the Commission’s rules implementing the Missouri Energy Efficiency Investment Act (MEEIA). PSC’s review will be the first review of MEEIA.
“These are good policy discussions,” PSC Chairman Robert Kenney said.
Findings from the 2013 ACEEE energy efficiency policy survey were released earlier this year, and Missouri was found to be 44th in the country for energy efficiency, one down from last year.
For decades, Missouri has been far behind in the national race to be at the top in renewable energy and energy efficiency standards and implementation. Missouri is a state the relies heavily on the a steady supply of coal to meet energy demand. As of late, federal and state government agencies have begun to crack down on pollution emission amounts, such as the EPA Clean Power Plan, and for Missouri, a reduction in energy usage is considered to be the key to keeping the state in the safe zone.
Once Senate Bill 376 was signed by Governor Nixon in 2009, Ameren Missouri was the first Missouri utility to establish customer rebates for residential and commercial energy efficiency measures, such as lighting upgrades and retrofitted air conditioners.
“Energy efficiency programs are the cleanest, easiest and quickest ways to protect our precious resources and energy efficiency programs are a vital component of any successful comprehensive energy policy,” Senator Brad Lager (R-Maryville), sponsor of SB 376, said. “Senate Bill 376 finally adds this tool to the toolbox.”
The bill requires the PSC to allow electric companies to recover costs of the program. For example, Ameren includes a special fee on the bills of their consumers, but in turn, consumers receive discounts for their energy efficiency efforts. Program created by Missouri utilities will only receive PSC cost recovery if the program has been fully approved by the PSC. Cost recovers include reimbursement for costs such as lost electricity revenue due consumers utilizing more efficient appliances.
For those consumers and companies can opt out of MEEIA if they are looking to avoid the additional rate on their energy bill, regardless of whether their energy provider provides a PSC-approved energy efficiency rebate program or not.
Rachael Herndon contributed to this story.
Kelsey Wingo is the multimedia reporter for The Missouri Times, and a senior at the University of Missouri. She will be graduating in Spring 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. Readers can contact Kelsey by calling her cell phone at 417-343-0508 or via Twitter @kels_wingo.