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PSC approves Ameren coronavirus assistance fund


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri’s Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a request from Ameren Missouri to redirect more than $3 million to assist customers through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ameren requested modification of an agreement directing $3.5 million to a low-income weatherization program, instead putting the funds toward low-income customers impacted by the pandemic. The proposal included $2.5 million slated to directly fund these programs with the remainder covering administrative costs associated with their implementation. The order was granted an expedited effective date during this week’s agenda meeting. 

Ameren was also authorized to increase its natural gas energy efficiency budget by $150,000 for this year after Staff conducted a review. Ameren said its current budget would have been exhausted by the end of the month due to its spending pace.

Liberty Utilities requested financing authority to issue long-term unsecured debt. The debt would be issued through a promissory note — also known as a note payable — of $5.7 million for a 10-year term at a rate of 2.07 percent. Liberty also requested a $12.6 million note at the same recovery rate. Commission Staff signed off on the request which was granted on the condition that recommendations from Staff and the Office of Public Counsel (OPC) be adopted. 

Summit Natural Gas’ 2018-2019 actual cost adjustment (ACA) filings were also resolved this week. Staff recommended the ending balances after conducting an audit which the commission approved after allowing a period for a response from other parties. 

The commission dismissed a customer complaint against Missouri-American Water Company after the plaintiffs failed to appear to testify. The “small formal complaint” — involving less than $3,000 — was filed in September and was investigated by Staff. A pre-hearing conference was held in early March, but the complainants failed to appear. With no further responses filed, the complaint was dismissed without malice. 

A joint application from Public Water Supply District No. 2 of St. Charles County and the city of Wentzville was approved after the commission found the request would not impact customer rates. The order extends an existing territorial agreement by 20 years and makes slight alterations to their service area boundaries. 

The next PSC agenda meeting is scheduled for April 21. The commission plans to continue meeting remotely for the foreseeable future.