In February 2018, the Missouri Senate passed a bill aimed at simplifying the rate case process and providing incentives to encourage Missouri utilities to invest in infrastructure improvements. Senate Bill 564 (SB 564) will affect Missouri utilities Ameren Missouri, Empire District Electric Company, Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L), and KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations (GMO). This bill now lies with the Missouri House of Representatives, where the House Utility Committee has proposed HB 2256, an amended version of SB 564. If passed by the House in an upcoming vote, the bill will head back to the Senate for further legislation and negotiation. Previous attempts to modernize the current rate case framework have not been fruitful; however, a successful outcome for this bill could offer Missouri utilities an improved rate structure by January 2019.
Predictability of annual rate increases and improved ability to recover costs are expected to spur large investments in grid modernization and solar generation. Ameren Missouri has already expressed its desire to invest an incremental $1 billion in infrastructure by 2023. Ameren is no stranger to legislative-driven investments in grid modernization—it spent $648 million on grid modernization through the Illinois Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act in 2011.
A successful legislative effort will continue to improve Missouri’s place on the Grid Modernization Index, an index which benchmarks states on grid modernization policies, investments, and activities. In 2017, the GridWise Alliance ranked Missouri 20th, citing improvements in customer engagement and smart grid operations, and the start of a grid modernization proceeding pertaining to regulation of and planning for DERs by the Public Service Commission. The top five states were California, Illinois, Texas, Maryland, and Oregon.
Missouri Senate: SB 564 modifies provisions relating to public utilities
Missouri Times: House position on energy bill moves out of committee
51st State Perspectives: DERs are coming and Illinois is ready for them
GridWise Alliance: Grid Modernization Index 4
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Additional Contributing Authors: Gamble Ouzts
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