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This Week in the Missouri PSC: March 14, 2018


Applications and requests denied all around

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – While the Missouri Public Service Commission’s week revolved around the proposed merger of Great Plains Energy and Westar, the weekly agenda meeting held just four items on the docket.

And it seems that the word of the day, at least for the commission, was “denied.”

The first order of the day concerned an application to intervene from the Missouri School Boards’ Association (MSBA) in Liberty Utilities’ tariff to implement a general rate increase for natural gas service.

MSBA asked to intervene because of the effect of federal tax cuts but filed their motion late. The commission found that no good cause had been shown to approve their late intervention request, and denied the application.

The commission also denied another order, which concerned the Office of Public Counsel’s request for a rehearing following the amended report and order from the prudence review of Empire District’s fuel adjustment clause.

That was followed by the denial of another rehearing request, this one dealing with the requested rate increase for Indian Hills Utility Company.

The PSC rules say that an application for rehearing will be granted if “in its judgment sufficient reason, therefore, be made to appear,” and under that standard, the request was denied.

And the fourth order was, like the others, also denied.

That matter concerned a report and order issued in Spire Missouri’s request to increase revenues for gas service, which some issues at a previously held agenda meeting had been clarified by the commission with an amended report and order, particularly the portion dealing with the capitalization of earnings based and equity-based incentive compensations.

Both the PSC staff and OPC filed responses after Spire asked for further clarification, to which Spire stated that it “and Staff have had an opportunity to review the Amended Order and confer regarding capitalized incentive compensation costs, and have found that they have a difference of opinion on how the Commission’s decision on this issue should be construed.”

And because of the difference in opinion, Spire Missouri has not yet filed its compliance tariffs and requested expedited consideration of its requests for clarification so that appropriate compliance tariffs can be quickly filed.

The PSC and OPC agree that the language of the amended report and order is “plain on its face,” stating that earnings-based and equity-based “incentive compensation will not be included in rates and no part of the earnings based or equity-based incentive compensation for the current case (test year through true-up period) should be capitalized in rate base going forward.

The commission ruled that no further clarification was necessary, and denied the request, directing Spire to file the compliance tariffs as soon as practicable.