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PSC expands Ameren solar project


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri’s Public Service Commission (PSC) covered a number of orders during Thursday’s agenda meeting, including an expansion of Ameren‘s solar project. 

Staff considered the opening of a case to amend its own rules on renewable energy standard (RES) requirements. Currently, the rule has issues including a lack of clarity, the wide range in penalty amounts for companies not complying with RES requirements, complicated structuring of RES reports, and general confusion among companies as to what is RES compliant, the report said. Proposed changes would add clarity to both sides to streamline the process. 

The PSC also covered orders relating to Ameren. The first was a partial stipulation and agreement over revisions covering disconnect waivers and data collection. Ameren’s request was approved by the commission, with a stipulation that a section on reconnection fees would be discussed later. 

Ameren also filed a tariff sheet earlier this month reflecting changes in its Purchased Gas Adjustment (PGA) factors. This was due to estimated changes in natural gas costs. This change will decrease the cost of natural gas to customers, which Staff found appropriate. 

Another Ameren provision would allow them to expand their community solar power program. The Ameren Lambert Community Solar Energy Center had an attached tariff that Staff rejected,  and the agreement was accepted with the condition that Ameren file an agreeable tariff sheet. 

“The Community Solar program has clearly resonated with customers who are passionate about supporting and growing clean, renewable energy in Missouri,” Marty Lyons, chairman and president of Ameren Missouri, said in a statement. “The Community Solar program is just one of the ways we’re bringing more clean energy to our state.”

Also on the docket was a discussion over Evergy‘s request for an additional hearing to reconsider a proposed demand-side program and investment mechanisms. The PSC had originally considered the issue in March and denied the rehearing motion. Evergy was also approved to implement COVID-19 customer programs allowing for the waiver of interest and additional fees.

Spire Missouri was approved for a tariff allowing a new natural gas line.

Missouri-American Water Company was also the subject of an inquiry involving its vice president in an ongoing matter. A further evidentiary hearing is scheduled for June 3. 

The PSC ended the meeting by concluding its discussion on a post-hearing memorandum on Empire that began during last week’s meeting. The commission had held numerous local hearings over the company’s authority to raise tariffs for electric services. The company and PSC had differences over the commission’s recommendations and are working to reconcile their ideas into an agreement. Commissioners went back and forth from item to item on which version they agreed with on issues including settlements and rate percentages before reaching the end of the memorandum. 

The next PSC agenda meeting is scheduled for June 3.