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PSC moves forward with Grain Belt Express complaint case

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri’s Public Service Commission (PSC) is moving forward with a complaint case filed against the Grain Belt Express Project and parent company Invenergy.

The plaintiff, a landowner along the project line, alleged Invenergy agents told him during easement negotiations that “Grain Belt is no longer involved with this business.” The Missouri Landowners Association threw its weight behind the plaintiff this summer, signing on to the official complaint. 

The Grain Belt Express would develop an overhead and direct transmission line of around 780 miles, delivering wind energy from Kansas to Missouri and other states. Invenergy announced earlier this year it would include rural broadband infrastructure along its transmission line. The project was approved by the PSC last year. 

The commission ordered both parties to set a procedural schedule to resolve the conflict during Wednesday’s agenda meeting, setting the submission deadline for Dec. 19.

Confluence Rivers Utility Operating Company requested the authority to acquire assets from a number of water and sewer companies in southern Missouri earlier this year. The commission ordered Confluence Rivers to answer a series of questions about the planned transfer in September; Staff approved its responses and recommended the request’s approval shortly thereafter. The commission approved the transfer of assets and financial responsibilities to Confluence Rivers, noting a disagreement between Staff and the company over net book value would be investigated in a future rate case.

Ameren Missouri filed new tariff sheets last month to remove language leftover from energy efficiency programs run from 2016-2018. The blank sheets removed the outdated information and reserved the tariffs for future use. The commission approved the filing after a recommendation from Staff. 

The commission also approved Ameren Missouri’s Purchased Gas Adjustment (PGA) and Actual Cost Adjustment (ACA) filings for 2018 and 2019. Staff recommended the approval of both balances after Ameren made adjustments to information on its reliability analysis and gas supply planning. 

The Office of Public Counsel (OPC) requested sanctions against Elm Hills Utility Operating Company, attempting to gather documents from Elm Hills’ parent company for a sewer and water rate case. OPC alleged Elm Hills violated a prior commission order to provide the documents, while Elm Hills said it had no authority to request and distribute the documents to OPC. The commission sided with Elm Hills, denying the motion and noting Missouri Statute only allows such discovery under a finding of good cause. 

The commission dismissed a customer complaint filed against the city of St. Louis’ Department of Public Utilities, noting the extent of its jurisdiction reaches to public utilities, not municipalities. The commission dismissed similar complaints from the same plaintiff in November. 

The next PSC agenda meeting is scheduled for Dec. 16. Though the Governor’s Office Building is reopening on Dec. 21, commissioners said they had no plans to return to in-person meetings for the foreseeable future.