Sen. Jason Holsman, one of two committee members to vote against the legislation, said Missouri needs investment in aging infrastructure but that the proposal needs further refinement. He said he favors adding an expiration date and a monthly cap to the charge so consumers know by how much their electric bills could increase.
Holsman, D-Kansas City, called the current proposal "far too wide and far too vague."
Under the measure, power companies could seek a surcharge no more than twice every 12 months, and utilities would need to have filed a full rate case within the past three years. How much could be collected from the surcharge between rate cases would be capped.
After levying an infrastructure surcharge for 12 months, utilities would need to reconcile what was collected and submit a proposed adjustment to regulators. If during a full rate case the Public Service Commission disallowed costs that already had been included in a surcharge, power companies would need to offset it plus interest in a future infrastructure surcharge.
The Fair Energy Rate Action Fund, an opponent of allowing a surcharge, has estimated the proposed cap could allow investor-owned utilities to collect a total of up to $472 million.
The House Utilities Committee scheduled a public hearing next week on similar legislation. House Speaker Tim Jones said this past week that the state needs more energy efficiency but that he is cognizant of concerns raised by consumers and other ratepayers.
"I think it's good to have the discussion. The bill needs a lot of work," said Jones, R-Eureka.
Utility infrastructure is SB207 and HB398.
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