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This Week in the PSC: April 17, 2019


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Public Service Commission approved a handful of orders on its agenda this week as a state Senate committee considered legislation that could impact the commission in the future.

The PSC approved a motion compelling the Grain Belt Express Clean Line Project to answer questions of accuracy made on one document compared to others made on a substitute brief filed with the Missouri Supreme Court. At issue were the title page and table of contents, the PSC noted.

The order, which was approved in a 4-1 vote, didn’t rule on if the documents were accurate.

The Grain Belt project, which the PSC previously gave the green light to earlier this year, was a topic of contention at the Missouri Capitol this week. As the state House approved eminent domain legislation that would be detrimental to the project, Missouri ranchers and farmers gathered at the Capitol to rally against the project.

Additionally, the PSC approved two certificates of convenience and necessity Wednesday. One was for United Services Inc. to construct, maintain, operate, and control sewer systems in unincorporated areas in Andrew and Nodaway Counties.

The other certificate was for Missouri-American Water Company to construct, maintain, operate, and control a sewer system in an area in Clinton. This issue had been discussed during a previous PSC meeting, and the order limited the certificate to just a specific subdivision.

Meanwhile, the Missouri state Senate’s Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment Committee heard a pair of House bills this week that could modify — in minor ways — how the PSC operates.

Rep. Dean Plocher’s HB 355 would change how someone could appeal orders and decisions made by the PSC. Now, an individual must file an appeal with the PSC, and the commission will, in turn, file it with the appellate court. Plocher’s bill would allow an individual to file an appeal directly to the court, and the court would notify the PSC of such an appeal. He told The Missouri Times this bill would just “streamline” the process.

The other bill being considered is Rep. Jeff Knight’s HB 160. This legislation would grant the PSC permission to authorize a lower rate for water and sewer services for low-income people.