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PSC waives incentive restriction for Ameren

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri’s Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a waiver to its rules on incentives, allowing Ameren Missouri to compete for a new development project. 

Ameren submitted an application with the commission after being approached by a developer that was considering whether to use the company or a local co-op for its electric services as both entities have facilities in the project area. The co-op offered the development incentives and Ameren applied for a waiver of commission rules to allow it to match the offer.

The PSC prohibits companies from offering service incentives, such as free or reduced services, as part of a bid. The commission observed that Ameren’s tariff sheets allowed competitive waiver requests in order to compete with unregulated entities, like co-ops. 

The commission approved the waiver during Wednesday’s agenda meeting, stipulating that the incentive could not be distributed through the company’s Missouri Energy Efficiency Investment Act (MEEIA) program.

The commission ordered Empire District Electric Company to produce confidential files as part of an ongoing complaint case. During an evidentiary hearing held before the commission in July, the plaintiff requested access to a contract signed in 2017 as evidence in her dispute over a utility bill. 

The company refused, stating that the information was confidential per the commission’s privacy regulations. The PSC found no fault in the company’s argument but ordered it to provide the document to the plaintiff to supply additional information on the dispute.

A stipulation and agreement was approved in a case over Brune Mobile Sales, a manufacturer of manufactured housing units. The company was the subject of a complaint leveled by the commission’s manufactured housing program, which accused the company of installation of homes without a license and failing to correct defects within 90 days of complaints. 

The parties agreed to a settlement, with the company confirming it would file monthly reports, correct deficiencies, and hire a licensed civil engineer to inspect its work. 

The commission also approved a procedural schedule for consideration of Evergy Missouri West’s fuel adjustment clause (FAC) prudence review. Testimony and briefs are set to run from October through early March.

Summit Natural Gas was approved for a variance from the commission’s meter sampling test program. The company argued that the health precautions taken due to COVID-19 made it difficult for workers to safely gather the necessary data.

Additionally, the PSC approved a request from Spire Missouri for accounting authority over financial losses resulting from the pandemic.

The next PSC agenda meeting is scheduled for Oct. 28. The commission will continue to meet remotely for the foreseeable future due to COVID-19.