After months of in-depth research and study, the Missouri Public Service Commission has issued its final report on how state policies on electric utility regulation could be improved. In doing so, the commission also laid a set of guidelines for Missouri lawmakers on any future legislation on the issue.
The eight-page order, released on Tuesday, offers analysis on the issues and possible solutions to improve the way the Public Service Comission, or PSC, regulates electric utilities.
One item that the report highlighted was that electric utilities in Missouri cannot earn a return or recover amounts invested in infrastructure until the rate case is finished and the plant in question has been put into service. The PSC staff says this process can cause delays in investment recovery for the utilities, and state that “although regulatory lag and utility earnings have not been a serious problem to date, minor modifications to the current regulatory structure may be necessary in the future to encourage significant additional investment in grid modernization.”
The order also noted that the potential benefits of modernizing those technologies would always have to be weighed against the cost, but the staff report found several benefits for doing so. Those include the ability to connect or disconnect customers remotely, the ability to possibly resolve service issues more quickly, and reduce how long power outages last – all without the need to send a technician. In turn, these factors could potentially reduce utility costs for the ratepayers.
Read more: Missouri Times