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PSC sides with Ameren on all fronts

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) denied the application for rehearing the Noranda rate case compromise in a unanimous decision during the Commission’s regularly scheduled agenda meeting today. The Commission also formally rejected a complaint by consumers that Ameren is overearning.

Chairman Robert Kenney cited Ameren’s upcoming rate case in the explanation of the Commission’s denial.

“The extent that proposals and agreements were presented to us after the close of evidence and after the briefs were presented in the case, there is an opportunity in the rate case to present those intriguing proposals yet again and the parties are encouraged to do that,” said Kenney. “I also want to point out there is ample precedent for this commission to consider stipulations and agreements during the pendency of rate cases and even approving those during the pendency of rate cases. So, there are opportunities available to the parties to continue to presume proposals in the context of Ameren’s pending rate case.”

“I, too, support the order denying the application for rehearing and appreciate your comments, Chairman Kenney, because I think it is important to let the parties know that they have the opportunity to try to work things out,” Commissioner Bill Kenney said.

Multiple parties reached out to the PSC to consider rehearing the compromise stipulation that was initiated by the Office of Public Counsel head Dustin Allison, including Congressman Jason Smith, United Steelworkers, Fair Energy Rate Action Fund, Consumers Council of Missouri, AgXplore CEO Barry Aycock, and Gov. Jay Nixon, since the rate case was denied and dismissed over this summer. After the case originally was denied, Noranda has started layoffs at the New Madrid smelter, which is an economic staple for the bootheel.

Missourians for a Balanced Energy Future, who ran a campaign to oppose Noranda’s request, supported the PSC’s decision to deny the rehearing.

“We fully support the Missouri Public Service Commission’s decision today and the unanimous order rejecting Noranda’s claim,” said MBEF spokesman Irl Scissors to The Missouri Times. “The report clearly indicates that the smelter misrepresented its financial status to the Commission and the relief requested would in fact cost Missouri consumers MORE, not less, as Noranda alleged. The Commission’s order is in the best interest of all Missouri energy users, not just one company.  MBEF maintains the utmost respect for the workers at the smelter and hopes it remains a fixture of the Southeast Missouri community for years to come.”

Senator Doug Libla (R-Poplar Bluff) expressed his disappointment of the decision with his constituents.

“I am extremely disappointed in the latest decision just handed down by the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC). The PSC missed yet another opportunity to do something crucial for our rural economy, especially for Southeast Missouri. This lack of leadership for Missouri ratepayers by the PSC and Governor Nixon is frustrating. We need urgent action now by the Governor to protect these jobs, families, and communities. This lackluster effort and reasoning is both puzzling and very disappointing.”

Today’s decision by the PSC is the latest hit to Governor Nixon, who has expressed public support for the compromise stipulation to be considered. The PSC, now comprised of 5 Nixon appointees, appeared to give no consideration to his request. After the decision, rumors swirled that two senators will be asking for the resignation of OPC head Dustin Allison — who originally asked for the rehearing — so that Nixon can appoint a new head of OPC before the hearing in Ameren’s current rate case begins after the first of the year.

All tariff and new order motions were approved unanimously, including a complaint against Missouri-American Water Company and reconsideration for a case against R&S Homebuilders without a great deal of discussion.

A Sunshine request from KBIA was unanimously approved due to the information being acquired by the PSC after some debate. Previous requests have been denied due to the confidentiality of third party information.

Tariff and New Orders
  Item No. Case/Tracking No. Company Name/Brief Description Lead Staff/Additional Staff Contact(s)

1.

EC-2014-0223

Union Electric Company — Order Denying Motion To Make Surveillance Report Public Woodruff

2.

EC-2014-0223

Union Electric Company — Report and Order Woodruff

3.

WC-2014-0358

Missouri-American Water Company — Gene Koverman v. Missouri-American Water Co. — Order Dismissing Complaint Jones

4.

EO-2012-0142

Union Electric Company — Order Approving Stipulation and Agreement Regarding T-12 Replacement Measures Woodruff

5.

EC-2014-0224

Noranda Aluminum, Inc. — Order Denying Applications For Rehearing Woodruff

6.

EC-2014-0343

R & S Home Builders, Inc. — Order Denying Reconsideration Jordan

 

Other Discussion
  Other Description Brief Description Lead Staff/Additional Staff Contact(s)
Commission Scheduling Matters Kenney (Robert)
Legislation Kenney (Robert)
Budget Kenney (Robert)
Other Add a Company to Annual Universal Service Fund Certification List Van Eschen, Dale
Other Sunshine Request Received from KBIA News, Columbia, MO Woodruff
Closed Session Kenney (Robert)
Litigation Kenney (Robert)
Personnel Kenney (Robert)

The PSC will continue to meet on Wednesdays at 9:30am. On October 17, the PSC will host the Public Utility Law Symposium at the University of Missouri – St. Louis.