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PSC orders revision to Ameren surcharge protection program

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri’s Public Service Commission (PSC) ordered Ameren Missouri to revise its planned electrical surcharge protection program before offering it to customers. 

The program would offer customers protection from electrical surges that could affect their meters, allowing them to obtain protection from surges backed by a 15-year manufacturer’s warranty on their meters for a $10 monthly fee. The filing was suspended earlier this month, and commission Staff recommended allowing the company to file a revised version to assuage concerns over language it said could increase customer risk. 

Commissioners ordered Ameren to file a revised application for a pilot program during Wednesday’s agenda meeting, noting they did not oppose the idea of additional protection for customers. The order was approved 4-1, with Commissioner Scott Rupp voting in opposition and voicing his support for the original version. 

The commission also considered Liberty Missouri’s application for a certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) to construct and operate a water and sewer system in Bolivar. Liberty asked the commission to weigh creating a ratemaking base for the system — either based on an appraisal or the purchase price of the project depending on its status as a “large” utility. 

Originally, the cases were filed separately but were consolidated by the PSC. Commission Staff argued the designation applied to companies providing more than 8,000 customers water or sewer service in a certain area, while Liberty serves around 8,000 customers in Bolivar with both operations combined. 

Liberty sought a summary judgment approving its status as a large utility, which the commission denied. 

Empire District Electric Company’s community solar program was approved to take effect after Liberty refiled its tariff sheets, removing a $25 subscription fee the commission initially opposed. The program will allow residential and business customers to subscribe to solar energy and offset part of their bills. 

Finally, the commission voted to amend several of its regulations on manufactured housing. The changes will increase fees charged by the Manufactured Housing Program in order to bolster its economic health. It also rescinded a rule that allowed the use of a limited use installer license, a certification that hadn’t seen demand since their implementation. 

The next PSC agenda meeting is scheduled for Aug. 4.