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PSC approves Empire’s fuel adjustment rates despite objections

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri’s Public Service Commission (PSC) granted fuel rate adjustments for the Empire District Electric Company after addressing concerns raised over a retired coal generation facility. 

The company requested a slight increase in its fuel rates — which the Office of Public Counsel (OPC) initially opposed due to the inclusion of adjustments intended to recoup costs associated with the Asbury coal facility, which the company decommissioned in March. After a series of hearings, the parties resolved their dispute over the rate adjustments.

The commission approved an agreement mandating Empire refrain from recovering funds lost through the retirement of Asbury but allowing the company to recoup some generation losses while the facility is converted to a wind farm. 

The PSC set an effective date of Oct. 17 for the rate changes during Wednesday’s agenda meeting. 

The commission also granted an extension to Ameren Missouri for additional time to gather information in a case involving its Renewable Energy Standard (RES) Compliance Report for 2019 along with its 2020 RES Compliance Plan in April. Commission Staff acknowledged deficiencies in the company’s 2020 plan, noting the difficulty in presenting Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) filed on behalf of third-party companies. Staff recommended Ameren seek a waiver from the requirement to move forward with its filing, which the company subsequently did. 

The Sierra Club filed a comment on the company’s waiver request, questioning the validity of some of the company’s REC claims. The commission found no fault with the company’s data and approved the plan as drafted. 

Ameren filed a Gas Delivery Charge adjustment (DCA) tariff in September, requesting approval for its filing. Commission Staff reviewed the tariffs, finding no flaws in the paperwork or adjustment calculations. The commission approved the sheets, requiring additional DCA information for future adjustment calculations.

The next PSC agenda meeting is scheduled for Oct. 14. Commissioners said agenda meetings will continue to be held remotely due to COVID-19.