For several years, some version of a utilities regulation bill has been put before the Missouri Legislature for discussion. And now, following a 24-hour filibuster, a revised compromise bill—Senate Bill 564—is advancing in the Senate.
The core issue is that the state’s big utilities company want to spend $1 billion on upgrades to Missouri’s aging electric grid. SB 564 would address a change in the way the Missouri Public Service Commission regulates these companies, including Ameren, Kansas City Power and Light, and Empire District Electric, in order to pay for this infrastructure investment. The crux of the bill is that it would implement a five-year cap on rate increases, which will help protect taxpayers from skyrocketing rate hikes as well as provide stability and predictability in bills. Rates can be increased no more than 2.85 percent per year for five years under the bill.
Although the issue is by no means resolved yet, most parties seem to feel the current compromise is a good start.