Lawmakers OK overhaul of utility regulation in Missouri

After years of prodding by electric companies, Missouri lawmakers have approved changes to the way utilities are regulated in the state.

The House approved a bill Wednesday that would overhaul how utilities set their rates, in exchange for the promise that those utilities will upgrade the state’s electrical grid.

The measure, approved by the Senate in February, now heads to Gov. Eric Greitens’ desk.

The bill would affect some 2 million customers of the state’s large utilities, including Ameren Missouri, Kansas City Power & Light and Empire Electric District.

Ameren, the state’s largest utility, said the bill would enable $1 billion in new infrastructure investment over the next five years and cap rate hikes at 2.85 percent per year.

However, consumer and business groups have expressed concern that the bill would make it easier for utilities to raise rates while reducing their incentives to control spending. The bill could lead to utility rates increasing by 9.74 percent through 2028, according to an analysis by state regulators.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Missourinet

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