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PSC extends pipeline inspection waiver over coronavirus concerns


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri’s Public Service Commission (PSC) extended a waiver for the state’s natural gas companies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The waived rule required natural gas pipeline operators to visually inspect customer equipment and lines before turning on the flow of gas. The rule was initially waived last March and extended through the end of 2020, at which point commission Staff requested another extension. The commission voted to extend it through March 31, the current end-date for Missouri’s declared state of emergency, during Wednesday’s agenda meeting. 

The PSC has approved several similar requests, enacting various waivers and programs to assist both utilities and customers during the global pandemic and the winter. 

Evergy Missouri’s fuel adjustment clause (FAC) prudence review led to an agreement with commission Staff and the Office of the Public Counsel (OPC) outlining a series of changes to the filing. A partial stipulation and agreement was approved last week, and the commission voted to fully approve the changes Wednesday after no other party objected. 

The Raytown Water Company requested authority to issue up to $5 million in preferred stock late last year. Staff considered the proposal and recommended its approval, and the Office of Public Counsel suggested the commission grant the request under the condition that the company must pursue ways to refinance the preferred stock and provide updates on its efforts to the commission. 

Spire Missouri submitted tariff sheets to establish an on-bill cost recovery program, which were suspended in November to allow Staff more time to review the request. Staff again requested an extension, and the commission voted to further suspend the company’s filing until Feb. 26, when Staff’s analysis is due. 

The next PSC agenda meeting is set for Feb. 3. Though the Governor Office Building is open, the commission plans to meet remotely for the foreseeable future.