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PSC, Spire resolve issues from 2018 natural gas fire incident


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a stipulation and agreement from Spire Missouri Thursday resolving issues stemming from a July 2018 incident that left two contracted workers injured. 

A natural gas fire injured two of the three-person work crew contracted for a project in Kansas City in July 2018. As a result, PSC Staff filed a complaint earlier this month pertaining to safety regulations and drug and alcohol testing. 

The stipulation and agreement approved by all four commissioners Thursday said Spire would update its standards and procedures pertaining to contractors; be “more proactive” when it comes to drug and alcohol testing “when future incidents involve a contractor’s employee;” conduct annual in-depth reviews of contractor companies employed; and update the PSC on its compliance with the agreement by April 2020. 

Additionally, Spire has agreed to pay $33,000 to the Public School Fund within 14 days of the order. 

Commissioners also approved Evergy Missouri West’s revised tariff sheet regarding its Renewable Energy Standard Rate Adjustment Mechanism (RESRAM) rates. This will go into effect on Dec. 1. 

Empire District Gas Company’s tariff sheets changing its Purchased Gas Adjustment (PGA) factors — due to estimated changes in the cost of natural gas — and its Actual Cost Adjustment (ACA) factors were approved by the commission on an interim basis, as well. The PGA changes impact Empire’s south, north, and northwest systems, commissioners said. 

During the weekly agenda meeting, commissioners also unanimously approved Liberty Utilities’ tariff sheet which adjusted its PGA and ACA factors on an interim basis. 

Both orders for Empire and Liberty carry a Dec. 4 effective date. 

The PSC also: 

  • Approved an order allowing Missouri American Water Company to adjust its Infrastructure System Replacement Surcharge (ISRS) and file new tariff sheets to recover an authorized amount 
  • Adopted a procedural schedule and set a February 2020 evidentiary hearing for Ameren Missouri’s request for a waiver of various tariffs and regulations to enable the deployment of automated metering infrastructure starting next year
  • Suspended the assessment for the Missouri Universal Service Fund from January 2020 to January 2021
  • Increased the monthly Missouri Universal Service Fund to $16.75 for Lifeline program subscribers and $24 for Disabled program subscribers — bringing the total Lifeline support from federal and state programs to $24

The PSC rejected an application from Click Computers to provide interconnected voice over internet protocol (IVoIP) service. Commissioners noted the application was not signed by an attorney — a PSC requirement. 

The company can still file another application in the future.