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PSC denies rehearing on request to bar winter shut-offs 

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri’s Public Service Commission (PSC) denied a rehearing over the Consumer Council of Missouri’s request for a statewide moratorium on utility shut-offs Wednesday.

The council urged the commission to pass a moratorium on disconnections for the state’s utility companies through the winter late last year, which the commission denied due to the limitations of its statutory authority. The group requested a hearing over the case after the commission’s response, which was denied after input from Staff and various utility companies. 

The commission approved a request from Ameren Missouri to adjust a charge recorded on customers’ monthly bills. The Energy Efficiency investment Charge (EEIC) will increase for customers by $1.37 a month starting in February. The charge encourages utility companies to implement demand-side and energy efficiency programs under the Missouri Energy Efficiency Investment Act (MEEIA). 

Ameren’s true-up filing for its Fuel Adjustment Clause (FAC) was also approved during Wednesday’s agenda meeting. The company sought to recover more than $330,000 that the company failed to collect between February and September 2020. The commission approved an interim rate adjustment beginning next month.

A complaint was filed by a customer against Missouri-American Water Company in December 2019 disputing charges for water service from October of that year. After more than a year, commission Staff found that Missouri-American had failed to test the customer’s meter and make adjustments to her billing. The PSC ordered Missouri-American to make adjustments to compensate the customer and report back to the commission.

Confluence Rivers Utility Operating Company requested the authority to purchase water and sewer assets from Terre Du Lac Utilities Corporation, as well as a waiver of the commission’s 60-day notice requirement. The commission agreed to Confluence Rivers’ requests, stipulating that service rates would remain the same for customers and that reports must be filed on the condition of the acquired assets. 

Evergy Metro was granted accounting authority over expenses incurred from the COVID-19 pandemic. Evergy requested authority to defer the costs as a regulatory asset. Several entities, including the Sierra Club, Missouri Industrial Energy Consumers, and the National Housing Trust (NHT) applied to intervene in the case, leading to a series of hearings overseen by commission Staff. Under Staff’s recommendation, the commission granted the request in part — the company will only be allowed to defer costs associated with waiving late fees and reconnection costs. 

The commission also approved new tariff sheets from Evergy Missouri as part of its MEEIA compliance initiatives. The new rates include slight increases for non-residential customers of all sizes. 

The next PSC agenda meeting is scheduled for Jan. 20. The commission plans to continue meeting virtually for the foreseeable future.