Category: Utilities

Ameren Missouri has requested a rate increase! Register today for a virtual public hearing to make public comments on how it would impact you!

According to Ameren Missouri:

  • The adjustment in base rates would mean electric rates for an average residential electric customer (based on approximately 1,029 kilowatt-hours of usage per month) would increase by approximately $12 a month.
  • The adjustment in base rates would mean natural gas rates would increase for an average residential customer by approximately $4 a month.

 

To attend the local public hearing by telephone, at the time of the hearing, call toll-free 1-855-718-6621, listen to the prompt and enter the meeting number (access code) set out below, followed by # (pound/hashtag symbol). 

To participate by video/Internet, visit the website www.webex.com. You can also download the Cisco WebEx meetings application on your mobile device, laptop, desktop or tablet prior to the hearing and join the meeting at the hearing time by entering the corresponding access code and password listed below.

 

 Ameren Missouri Electric Rate Case 

October 5
  Kirksville/O’Fallon/Cape Girardeau
Noon
Access Code: 177 476 7672
  Password: 0240
October 6
  City of St. Louis/St. Louis County
6 pm
Access Code: 177 830 6711
  Password: 0240
October 7
  Jefferson County/St. Louis County
Noon
Access Code: 177 613 6270
  Password: 0240
October 7
  All electric customers
6 pm
Access Code: 177 571 9008
  Password: 0240
October 8
  All electric customers
6 pm
Access Code: 177 698 0394
  Password: 0240

                                                                          Ameren Missouri Natural Gas Rate Case 

October 4
All natural gas customers
6 pm
Access Code: 177 575 4527
Password: 0241
October 8
All natural gas customers Noon
Access Code: 177 860 4978
Password: 0241

 

Members of the public who wish to participate in the local public hearing, need to sign-up by sending their first and last name, phone number, email address and the hearing that they wish to attend to pscinfo@psc.mo.gov or by calling 1-800-392-4211 by 5 pm the day before the hearing.

Any person needing special accommodations to participate in the local public hearing as addressed by the Americans with Disabilities Act should contact the Missouri Public Service Commission at least 10 days prior to the local public hearing at one of the following numbers: Consumer Services Hotline 1-800-392-4211 or TDD Hotline 1-800-829-7541.

Individuals wishing to mail comments should send them to the Missouri Public Service Commission, P.O. Box 360, Jefferson City, Missouri 65102. They can also be sent electronically using the Commission’s electronic filing system at https://psc.mo.gov/General/Submit_Comments. When submitting comments, please refer to File No. ER-2021-0240 or GR-2021-0241, or both.

 

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PSC reconsiders Spire case after Supreme Court remand

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — After the Missouri Supreme Court remanded part of Spire Missouri’s previous rate increase, the Public Service Commission (PSC) is moving forward with the issue as part of the company’s latest request.

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Spire has requested a rate increase! Register today for a virtual public hearing to make public comments on how it would impact you

The Spire natural gas utility is requesting an annual rate increase of over $100 million for the delivery of gas to its customers.

Consumers Council believes that this request is too high, and doesn’t take into account the economic impact suffered by most consumers due to the recent pandemic.

Spire is asking that consumers pay a fixed fee of $20.00 each month for its Eastern Missouri territory, and $22.00 more for Western Missouri consumers. This fee would be unavoidable by conservation must be paid each month before any natural gas is used in your home.

Consumers Council believes that higher fixed rate charges hurt those most energy burdened, and low use customers, including many elderly customers.

A higher fixed rate also reduces consumer’s ability to control their utility bills by using less.

Consumers Council and Legal Aid of Eastern Missouri have requested that Spire implement more effective assistance programs for vulnerable customers and a more user-friendly registry for customers with medical issues. Their current registry system only registers a fraction of those with medical needs.

Media Reminder: PSC Local Public Hearings in Spire Rate Case Start on June 21

Public Hearing Schedule

 Join from a computer or phone using this link: https://psc.mo.gov/ or dial the toll-free 1-855-718-6621 to join the hearing on the day and enter the information below for the hearing you attend. Registration is encouraged. Email pscinfo@psc.mo.gov or call 1-800-392-4211 by 5:00 pm CST on the day before the hearing.

June 21

  • City of St. Louis
  • 6:00 pm CST
  • Access Code: 133 190 7597
  • Password: 0108

June 22

  • St. Louis County
  • 6:00 pm CST
  • Access Code: 133 974 3371
  • Password: 0108

June 23

  • All
  • 12:00 pm CST
  • Access Code: 133 223 2486
  • Password: 0108

June 23

  • Kansas City
  • 6:00 pm CST
  • Access Code: 133 211 3732
  • Password: 0108

June 24

  • St. Joseph
  • 6:00 pm CST
  • Access Code: 133 238 8420
  • Password: 0108

June 25

  • Joplin
  • 6:00 pm CST
  • Access Code: 133 956 1939
  • Password: 0108

 

Schedule with Talking Points

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Missouri panel rejects moratorium on utility shutoffs during pandemic

EFFERSON CITY — The state Public Service Commission has rejected an effort to prevent utility companies from disconnecting residential services during the COVID-19 pandemic, the commission said in a statement Wednesday.

The Consumers Council of Missouri, which advocates on behalf of consumer interests, had requested an emergency order for a moratorium on disconnections through at least March 31.

But the commission determined it didn’t have the authority to grant the council’s request, according to the statement.

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Consumer groups seek Missouri utility shut off moratorium

A coalition of consumer and health care advocates are asking the Missouri Public Service Commission to impose a moratorium on utility cutoffs for the winter to help control the spread of COVID-19. The Consumers Council of Missouri, with support from the Missouri Hospital Association, Empower Missouri and the National Housing Trust, filed the request Tuesday … read more

Consumer groups seek Missouri utility shut off moratorium

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Citing Public Health Concerns in COVID-19 Pandemic, Organizations Call for Moratorium on Utility Disconnections

(JEFFERSON CITY, MO)…Citing the need to “protect the health and safety of the general public during the ever-worsening COVID-19 pandemic in Missouri, Consumers Council of Missouri filed a motion with the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) on December 7 for an emergency order to create a winter utility disconnection moratorium. The motion was supported by a variety of community organizations that have been convened by Empower Missouri since late October as the Utility Disconnection Prevention Working Group.

Jackie Hutchinson, executive director of the Consumers Council of Missouri said, “The COVID-19 pandemic represents a major risk to health and safety during these winter months. The added strain of utility disconnections could increase stress on our health care system, through potential increases in transmission of coronavirus among families and communities.”

A very recent study at the Nicholas Institute at Duke University shows that eviction moratoria reduce the average growth rate of COVID-19 cases by 4.5%, and water and utility shutoff moratoria reduce the average growth rate by 2.6%.  “We have already seen how COVID-19 has disproportionately harmed communities with low incomes, Black Missourians, and other communities of color,” Hutchinson stated. “The moratorium we are requesting could reduce the threat of increased COVID-19 cases caused when families must leave their homes and move in with others due to utility disconnections.”

Jeanette Mott Oxford, director of policy and organizing for Empower Missouri, added, “Our working group explored a variety of options in an attempt to secure a winter moratorium, but, with cold weather upon us, filing for the emergency order appeared to be the only path that met the urgency of the moment. We believe that the laws of our state allow the Public Service Commission to step in with this type of action when the health and safety of the public are at risk as they so clearly are in this pandemic.”

The PSC has posted notice of the motion and shortened the time for responses. Action by the Public Service Commissioners is expected by December 16

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As temperature drops and virus cases climb, groups file for new Missouri utility disconnection moratorium

JEFFERSON CITY — Since testing positive for COVID-19 last week, Mary Boyd has been quarantining at home, unable to take any shifts at the Nature’s Bakery plant where she works near her home in Hazelwood. And that’s left her with a several-hundred dollar electric bill and a looming utility disconnection.

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PSC Sets Local Public Hearing Schedule in Missouri-American Water Company Rate Cases

The Missouri Public Service Commission will hold virtual local public hearings in January to receive customer comment in water and sewer rate cases filed by the Missouri-American Water Company (MAWC). Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, these local public hearings will be conducted virtually by WebEx and telephone conference. They will be streamed live on the Commission’s website (psc.mo.gov).

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Ameren settles with ratepayer advocates and announces energy efficiency plan

Consumer advocates rejected the initial plan citing overspending and inadequate benefits

Ameren, Missouri’s largest utility company, has reached an agreement with consumer advocates and environmental groups to launch an energy efficiency plan. The utility proposed a $550 million conservation program over six year, but consumer advocates fought to scale back the program duration and overall spending.

The modified plan calls for $227 million in spending and creates a “check in” at 3 years to ensure that the program is delivering results.

Consumer advocates hail the compromise. Cara Spencer of the Consumers Council of Missouri said “this is a good compromise and provides a net value to both consumers and the environment without placing an undue burden on ratepayers.”

The plan is intended to benefit a wide spectrum of Ameren consumers and includes $20 million in benefits low-income households. The agreement also sets up data sharing that will allow low-income consumer experts to ensure the program is working equitably.

Spencer adds, “This is not only good for the environment, but with this compromise we have protected rate payers and specifically low-income households.”

The Missouri Public Service Commission is expected to make a decision in the next couple of weeks.

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Will a governor’s scandal upend ratemaking reform?

Each of the past two years, a filibuster by a few state senators in the final days of the legislative session stymied a utility-backed ratemaking bill in Missouri.
This year, the utility bill survived a 22-hour Senate filibuster in February (Energywire, Feb. 12). Now the question is what happens in the final days of a legislative session that has been consumed by the scandal enveloping Gov. Eric Greitens (R).
Greitens goes on trial Monday in St. Louis on felony invasion of privacy charges related to an extramarital affair he had in 2015. The governor faces separate charges of illegally obtaining a donor list from the veterans charity he founded and using it to raise money for his campaign in 2016.
Back at the Capitol, the Legislature will convene 30 minutes after the regular session wraps up May 18 to consider impeachment proceedings against the first-term Republican after 138 House members and 29 senators signed a petition calling for the special session. The unprecedented situation throws into question what the General Assembly will get done in its final week, which is a frenzied time even under usual circumstances.
“Missouri legislators are worried that many of their priorities, such as utility regulation, could fall victim to the usual rush of last-minute business and the unusual rush of impeachment business,” said David Robertson, a political science professor at the University of Missouri, St. Louis.
St. Louis-based Ameren Missouri, the state’s largest utility with 1.2 million customers, led the lobbying push for ratemaking reforms. The utility has for years complained that “regulatory lag” in Missouri prevented the company and others from earning maximum authorized profits.
Utility officials said yesterday that they’re hopeful the bill will pass the House as written during the next eight days and advance to the governor’s desk. But they provided little insight as to when that might happen.
“It is on the House calendar, and it will go to the floor when the House leadership chooses to have it go to the floor,” Ameren Corp. CEO Warner Baxter said during the company’s first-quarter earnings call.
It’s not the first time the Legislature has been close to passing the utility bill as the deadline approached. Executives noted that it has been the Senate that blocked the legislation in previous years. And if the House passes S.B. 564 without amendments, it will go to the governor’s desk.
“We have never been this close, never been this far through the process,” Ameren Missouri CEO Michael Moehn said.
The bill is supported by all the state’s electric suppliers and local and state chambers of commerce and labor unions. Opposition has come from consumer groups, including industrial energy users.
The legislation’s key provision would authorize a ratemaking change to enable utilities to begin book depreciation and earn a return on investments as soon as they’re placed in service instead of waiting months or years until the conclusion of a rate case.
Ameren said the change won’t just benefit shareholders. Improving profitability will encourage the utility to make an incremental $1 billion in grid investments over the next five years that will improve reliability and create jobs. The bill would freeze utility base rates until 2020 and cap annual increases at 2.85 percent through 2023.
S.B. 564 would also enable utilities to offer lower rates to new large energy users as an economic development incentive and authorize utility regulators to pass through savings retroactive to Jan. 1 tied to the reduction in the corporate income tax rate.
Ameren has said the tax savings would amount to $133 million, or almost 5 percent based on current rates.
Opponents of the bill, from big industrial power customers to residential ratepayer advocates, said there’s nothing in the bill to benefit consumers. They say Missouri’s grid is reliable, utilities are financially healthy and rates are low. In their eyes, the bill is aimed at boosting profits.
Critics also point out that utilities in other states have voluntarily agreed to pass through tax savings to customers. But in Missouri, the tax savings are being used as political leverage.
John Coffman, an attorney for the Consumers Council of Missouri, said amendments have been proposed that would clarify issues related to the bill’s tax refund provisions. One involves whether the Public Service Commission could approve refunds outside a rate case. The other issue involves whether rate caps in the legislation are based on the utility rates before the tax cut, or after.
“Those are two things people are actively trying to fix in the legislation,” he said.
Coffman is among those who doesn’t think Greitens’ legal problems will have any effect on whether the bill passes. If anything, he said, the scandal has taken attention away from what else is happening at the Capitol.
If the bill passes the House, it would need to be sent to the governor’s desk by May 30.

 

https://www.eenews.net/energywire/stories/1060073547/

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