2024 Utility Bills You Should be Aware of

Missouri Capitol

The Missouri legislative session provides creative ways to enable utilities to increase their rates. 

These bills would affect everyone’s bottom line, hitting those with low- and moderate-income especially hard.

If you view yourself as an educated consumer, you should be familiar with these bills.

Construction Work in Progress (“CWIP”): Senate Bill 928 (Senator Mike Cierpiot)

Misleadingly referred to as the “Missouri Clean Power Act”, this bill provides an opportunity for utilities to require consumers to pre-pay for large utility power plants, regardless of whether the project is ever completed.

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE? CWIP creates a situation where the public bears almost all the risk of something going wrong during the 10+ years of planning and construction of a nuclear power plant, with no guarantee that the project will ever produce electricity.

In South Carolina, CWIP took $9 Billion from consumers for a nuclear plant expansion. The project was never completed and did not benefit consumers.  

PSC and OPC Overhaul Bill: SB 1280 (Senator Mike Cierpiot)

This bill would dramatically change utility ratemaking in Missouri by tipping the scales toward monopoly utilities during proceedings before the Missouri Public Service Commission. Missouri consumers’ official representative, the Office of the Public Counsel (OPC), would lose much of its independence, unreasonably politicizing the office. OPC’s ability to appeal MoPSC decisions would be severely restricted.

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE? Utilities are already assured an opportunity to earn a corporate profit of at least 9.4% and do not need any additional advantages in securing rate increases before the MO PSC.

The Office of Public Counsel, representing and protecting the interests of the Missouri public, plays an indispensable role in ensuring that consumer interests are heard. Their activities have saved ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Any limitation on the OPC’s powers will enhance the power of the utilities at the expense of Missouri’s ratepayers.

Right of First Refusal (“ROFR”): SB 805 (Senator Rusty Black)

This legislation would give local utilities a monopolistic right to prevent other investors from competitively bidding on their transmission projects unless the local utility has decided that it will not construct the project.

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE? “Blocking new entrants from competing on transmission projects  . . . (is) an anti-consumer, anti-free market policy that costs consumers billions of dollars in higher electricity rates,” Paul Cicio, Chair of the Electricity Transmission Competition Coalition.

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