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PSC issues guidelines on certain cases in wake of coronavirus


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Public Service Commission (PSC) has released new guidelines on certain cases in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The PSC said it’s heard from several utilities that have had trouble obtaining the necessary in-person notarized sworn statements needed for filing with certain documents, according to a news release Tuesday. Due to the practice of social distancing in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, various entities have had difficulty getting these signatures from involved parties. 

In response to this, the PSC has looked into alternative options for pleadings filed in commission cases as well as other reports or statements of income that are required. According to the Missouri state statutes, requirements that pleadings must be verified, notarized, or made under oath can be met so long as the statements include a note that the claim is being made under the penalty of perjury. 

As this is a statutory requirement, the PSC has used it as a precedent to accept affidavits without being notarized so long as they include a statement saying: “Under penalty of perjury, I declare that the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.”

Wednesday’s agenda meeting will also be the first that is fully-streamed with no one physically in the room. Typically, agenda meetings are live-streamed, and commissioners are able to call into the meetings.

“As directed by Governor Parson and consistent with other state agencies, the Governor Office Building is currently closed to the public,” a PSC spokesman told The Missouri Times. “Since March 16, the Commission has been minimizing the number of employees working in the building — having them work from home.”

This is among many changes to state and national standards that are being made as the COVID-19 epidemic continues to advance. The state Capitol and numerous other state offices have closed their doors, as have many businesses and workplaces throughout the country. 

More than 200 Missourians have tested positive for coronavirus throughout the state, with at least three deaths reported. 

The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” while the disease is called “coronavirus disease 2019,” or “COVID-19.” It can cause severe respiratory illnesses with symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned.

There have been more than 44,000 confirmed cases in the U.S., and 544 deaths, according to the CDC. 

DHSS has opened a public hotline operated by medical professionals around the clock seven days a week. The hotline number is 877-435-8411.

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