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PSC denies Empire deferral request

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri’s Public Service Commission (PSC) rejected a proposed deferral from the Empire District Electric Company.

Empire’s true-up filing for its fuel adjustment clause (FAC) was approved by the commission, accounting for more than $1.2 million under-collected from customers among other billing issues. In another filing, Empire requested authority to defer overcollections until its next triannual rate case before the commission, pointing to “extraordinary costs” incurred during February’s cold snap

Commission Staff voiced its support for the deferral, with the Office of Public Counsel (OPC) opposing the recommendation. The commission rejected the filing during Wednesday’s in-person agenda meeting and ordered the parties to submit a proposed procedural schedule to further consider the issue.

Ameren Missouri’s FAC true-up adjustment was also approved; rate adjustments filed by the company earlier this year were approved on an interim basis. 

A complaint against Spire Missouri was dismissed after the plaintiff failed to appear at a prehearing conference last month and did not respond to further inquiries about the case. The commission allowed two weeks for further communication before voting to dismiss the complaint. 

Liberty requested a temporary stay for a cost/benefit report on its membership with the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), a multistate regional transmission organization (RTO). Liberty requested a stay on the report, which is due by June 30, noting the commission has another open case examining each investor-owned energy utility’s partnership with SPP. The request was approved, extending the deadline for the report through August 2022. 

Barry Technology Services LLC was approved for expanded designation of its status as an eligible telecommunications carrier. The company recently received the federal Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, requiring it to extend broadband service to rural areas. 

The PSC conducted its first in-person agenda meeting in more than a year Wednesday. Every meeting since March 2020 has been remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While Chairman Ryan Silvey and Commissioner Maida Coleman were in attendance Wednesday, Silvey said virtual participation would still be allowed going forward.