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PSC continues to extend waivers for utilities amid COVID-19


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Public Service Commission (PSC) has allowed Spire Missouri to extend its waiver of late fees and disconnects on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Spire was approved for its initial request of a variance through May 1 during the March 18 meeting. On Wednesday, the PSC approved its request to extend this temporary variance through the end of May, in deference to households struggling with payments during the current health pandemic. 

The commission also ordered a further progress report into its investigation of Virgin Mobile’s Assurance Wireless’ status as an eligible telecommunications carrier. This investigation comes after news that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is investigating allegations Sprint Corp. defrauded the Lifeline program, which makes communications services affordable to low-income consumers.

Staff had filed a report on April 9 which indicated that Assurance Wireless had received additional money for its Missouri Lifeline subscribers through a computer error that de-enrolled customers for non-usage. Staff was ordered to file a further progress report on the investigation into the matter during the PSC’s weekly agenda meeting Wednesday. 

Commissioners also approved Summit Natural Gas of Missouri’s 2017-2018 Actual Cost Adjustment (ACA) filing. The issue had been open since November 2018, with Staff issuing recommendations before Summit agreed to one yesterday. Staff recommended adjustments to amounts in various categories. Summit is to establish these ACA balances in its next filing. 

The PSC also approved a waiver for Roeslein Alternative Energy Services (RAES) of the gas odorization requirement in an operation in Mercer County. The commission allowed for this waiver on the conditions that the company can prove that gas safety is not compromised, leakage surveys every 4.5 months, annual studies of the pipeline are conducted, and direct monitoring of the line during excavation. 

The next PSC agenda meeting is set for April 29. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: For up-to-date information on coronavirus, check with the CDC and DHSS.