Gov. Eric Greitens has signed into law a bill allowing utility regulators to approve lower electricity rates for industrial companies using large amounts of energy.
The law is intended to entice a steel-works facility and aluminum smelter to open in Southeast Missouri. But the special electricity rates also could be sought by other new or expanding businesses that use large amounts of power.
The Republican governor called state lawmakers in for a special session last month to address the bill. He announced its signing Thursday.
Supporters of the measure say it could bring about 500 jobs to Missouri’s impoverished Bootheel region.
Opponents of the proposal say giving lower electric rates to the few will hurt many of Missouri’s electric ratepayers. They also contend that it’s bad public policy to include lower electric rates as part of an economic development package and there’s no guarantee that the businesses will open in Missouri.