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This Week in the Missouri PSC: Sept. 20, 2018


Silvey takes over as chair

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The weekly agenda meeting of the Missouri Public Service Commission this week was a lengthy one, but the real news out of the commission is the official changing of the chairmanship.

When the commissioners sat down to the table on Thursday morning, Daniel Hall no longer sat at the head of the table. Instead, Ryan Silvey took the chair, having received the appointment from Gov. Mike Parson.

Silvey named chairman of the Missouri Public Service Commission

Silvey was welcomed to the role by his fellow commissioners, with Commissioner Bill Kenney saying that he had some big shoes to fill, but all expressing their confidence and best wishes to Silvey as the new chairman.

To Hall, Kenney noted that he had served as chairman for 20 months, which he said was a true credit to him and his work, noting that most governors had changed the chairman within days of taking office.

“I want to thank you, Daniel, you’ve done a phenomenal job as chairman,” Kenney said, speaking highly of his work to do what’s best for both the people and the companies. “I’ve just been proud to serve under you.”

“You’ve taken this organization and moved it forward,” Commissioner Scott Rupp said. “There’s nobody else that I’d rather be the bad cop for.”

After hearing the sentiments from his fellow commissioners, Hall expressed his thanks, but couldn’t resist a quick quip.

“I’m not dead yet,” Hall replied with a smile.

Aside from that, the commission had a full docket to deal with on Thursday morning: eight tariffs and new orders, two case discussions, and a presentation from the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

That load was lightened slightly, as now-Chairman Silvey announced that they would not be dealing with the Liberty Utilities case this week.

The first item dealt with concerned Laclede Gas Company’s (Spire) application to change its ISRS, an adjustment to recover costs from infrastructure replacements made in 2016.

In January of 2017, the PSC permitted Spire Missouri to file new tariffs to recover those revenues, including the replacement of plastic components, but in November of that year, the Court of Appeals issued a decision that replacing plastic components that were not worn out or deteriorated is not available for recovery under ISRS.

In this matter, the commission ruled that under the court’s ruling, they lacked the statutory authority to refund those costs.

Also dealing in that matter, the commission also denied a motion from the Office of Public Counsel, which had ultimately requested (1) a determination to modify the ISRS amounts previously approved in the order approving the Unanimous Stipulation and Agreement in light of the Appeals Court decision, and (2) apply or offset the over-collected ISRS revenues of $4,905,862.58 to the rate base from the rate cases pursuant to Section 393.1015.8, RSMo.

The first part of the requested relief would require the Commission to modify the final order approving the Unanimous Stipulation and Agreement and setting ISRS revenues in these ISRS cases. The second portion of the requested relief, however, would require the Commission to modify the Commission’s Amended Report and Order from the rate cases.

The commission denied that, stating that they cannot retroactively correct tariffs by applying a refund to future cases.

The commission also signed off on the report and order, which authorizes Spire Missouri, Inc. to establish Infrastructure System Replacement Surcharges sufficient to recover ISRS revenues in the amount of $2,607,610 for its East service territory and $5,411,793 for its West service territory, and rejected the tariff sheets previously filed by the company. Spire is authorized to file new tariffs to recover revenue from the current report and order.

In addition to that, the PSC granted Spire’s application to renew its financing authority. In their filing, Spire had requested approval in the amount of $500,000,000 for all securities through September 30, 2021.

They also sought authority to apply an accounting change reclassifying some existing operating leases to capital leases. The commission approved the application with certain stipulations.

The commission also gave approval to the acquisition of Rogue Creek Utilities by Missouri American Water Company, which also requested a CCN to provide service to those customers. It was approved with a unanimous vote of 5-0.

The last cases the PSC dealt with again hinged around Spire, which had requested to increase its Weather Normalization Adjustment rider (WNAR). The commission voted to suspend the tariff sheets from Oct. 2018 to April 1, 2019 and gave notice of a contested case.

Because the effective dates are for Oct. 1, the commission said that allowed insufficient time to determine whether those tariffs are reasonable and just.

The commission also received a presentation from the Department of Economic Development, highlighting issues of infrastructure and workforce development, as part of their Best in Midwest Initiative. You can read more on that initiative by clicking here.