CCM Fights for Consumer Interests During 2015 Legislative Session

Let your legislators know where your opinion on these bills.  To find out who represents you in the House and the Senate, CLICK HERE.

Then email your representative and senator asking them to vote your interests on these bills.

UTILITIES

CCM Supports:

Senate Bill 160 — Utility Transparency and Fairness Act — Sen. Dan Brown

The bill would require all regulated utilities to publicly file quarterly earnings reports so that the public will know when a utility is earning more money than regulations authorize.  Some electric utilities already must file such reports — but those reports are currently secret, according to a rule of the Missouri Public Service Commission.

It would also require the Public Service Commission to determine in a general rate case how any rate increase would impact consumers when it sets the allowable rate of return for a utility.

House Bill 83 — Adjustable Due Date for Fixed-Income Customers — Rep. Paul Curtman

This legislation would allow customers who are on a fixed income due to benefit programs such as Social Security to have their utility bills’ due dates adjusted without incurring a late payment charge.

CCM Opposes:

Senate Bill 310 — Public In-Service Accounting (PISA) — Sen. Ed Emery

This bill would radically change the way the Public Service Commission calculates electric rates in a way that tilts the rules even more in favor of the utilities.  It would add significantly higher charges on the monthly bills of customers of Ameren Missouri, KCPL and Empire District Electric Co.

The worst provision in the bill would mandate “construction accounting.”  It has similar features to the pre-payment scheme called Construction Work in Progress (CWIP), which would allow a utility to charge customers for a new energy generator – like a nuclear plant – while it builds that plant and before the plant ever – if ever – produces any energy.  Such charges are banned in Missouri under a law passed by voters in 1976.

Senate Bill 403 – Infrastructure System Replacement Surcharge for Gas Companies — Sen. Mike Kehoe

The bill would allow unlimited increases in the so-called gas ISRS, a surcharge that requires consumers to take more risk for a gas company’s building projects.  It would loosen the Public Service Commissions oversight of monopoly gas companies by allowing up to 11 years before a company’s rates could be reviewed.

Governor Nixon vetoed this bill last year saying, in part, “While there is much in [the bill] to benefit utilities, there is little, if anything, in it for consumers. Nowhere does the bill mandate increased reliability or enhanced safety and nowhere does it offer the real possibility of lower utility bills.”

PERSONAL FINANCE

CCM Supports:

House Bill 820 — Predatory Lending — Rep. Tracy McCreery

The bill will cap the rate on four types of small dollar lending products (payday loans, car title loans, consumer installment loans and small loans) at 36 percent APR (annual percentage rate).  Currently the APR averages 455 percent in Missouri. The current state of predatory lending compels immediate intervention to prevent continued exploitative interest rates that trap people in cycles of debt.

CCM Opposes:

House Bill 256 – Merchandising Practices – Rep. Tony Dugger

Missouri law prohibits fraud in business deals.  When a business commits fraud it can’t be sent to jail the same way an individual can.  Instead it can be held liable by the attorney general of the state or the person it harmed under the Merchandising Practices Act.

This bill would excuse businesses with a track record of shady practices from fraud claims under the Merchandising Practices Act.

OTHER ISSUES

CCM Supports:

House Bill 939 — Protections for Ticket Buyers — Rep. Tracy McCreery

The bill requires transparency in online ticketing and puts restrictions on ticket vendors’ practices in selling paperless tickets and reselling tickets to protect the purchaser of such tickets.

To learn more about this issue, CLICK HERE.>>

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