SB 63 Modifies provisions pertaining to utilities
Sponsor: Mayer
LR Number: 0525L.02C Fiscal Note: 0525-02N.ORG
Committee: Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources
Last Action: 4/21/2011 - Referred to Rules Committee pursuant to Rule 25(32)(f) Journal Page: H1430
Title: HCS SB 63 Calendar Position:
Effective Date: Emergency Clause for certain sections
House Handler: Pollock

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Current Bill Summary


HCS/SB 63 - This act modifies provisions relating to utilities.

SECTION 247.060 - PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY DISTRICT BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The act removes the provision in current law that requires members of the board of directors of a public water supply district to serve without pay. Board members are allowed up to $100 for attending a board meeting or special meeting and must be reimbursed for their actual expenditures in the course of their duties. The president of the board may receive an additional $50 per meeting. The act provides limitations on the number of meetings for which board members may receive compensation and requires the completion of certain training prior to receipt of such compensation.

The act additionally provides the circuit court in the jurisdiction of the district certain authorities to suspend or remove board members from office for cause or to prevent a board member from acting against the interests of the district.

No board member may receive compensation under the act if any customer or potential customer of the water district has not been provided service for at least 8 months when such service has been requested.

This section is similar to TAT/SS/SCS/HCS/HB 89 (2011) and HB 210 (2011).

SECTION 250.236 - TERMINATION OF WATER SERVICE

Under current law, a city must send notice to a sewer customer by certified mail if the city intends to disconnect sewer service or request a water utility to disconnect water service for failure to pay the sewer bill. This act removes the requirement that the notice must be via certified mail.

This section is identical to TAT/CCS/HCS/SB 48 (2011).

SECTIONS 256.400 & 256.433 - MAJOR WATER USERS IN SOUTHEAST MO

This act prohibits certain companies or agencies located partially or wholly outside Missouri from taking and transporting water from within the Southeast Missouri Regional Water District to locations outside the District, if such taking and transporting interferes with the normal water usage of certain other large water consumers. If such interference occurs, the Attorney General or the affected parties may seek an injunction. No injunction may be issued if it would harm public health or safety.

The act is similar to SB 604 (2010) and SB 556 (2009).

SECTION 386.370 - FUNDING FOR OFFICE OF PUBLIC COUNSEL

Under current law, the Public Service Commission (PSC) receives funding from a fee assessed to each regulated public utility based on the proportionate amount of time and expenses spent by the PSC on each utility. This act creates a similar fee assessment and collection mechanism for the Office of Public Counsel. The act lowers the total amount that may be collected for the PSC from the fee, from its current maximum of .25% of the total gross intrastate operating revenue to .22% of total gross intrastate operating revenue. The act limits the total amount of fee revenue that may be collected for the Office of Public Counsel to .02% of total gross intrastate operating revenue and places a cap on the assessment to telecommunications companies. The act increases the maximum assessments to .23% and .03%, respectively, in the event that an electric company obtains a combined license from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

This section contains provisions similar to provisions in SS/SCS/HB 462 (2011), SCS/SB 48 (2011), SB 406 (2011) and HCS/SB 791 (2010).

SECTIONS 386.420 TO 386.540 - APPEAL PROCEDURES FOR PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION DECISIONS

The act requires that in any proceeding before the Public Service Commission (PSC) that results in new rates for a public utility, the PSC must prepare a detailed reconciliation containing certain financial information, rate and charge impact of contested issues, and the customer class billing determinants used by the commission.

The act allows orders of the PSC to be served electronically and removes the requirement that every person who is served a certified copy of a PSC order must notify the PSC of its receipt.

The act reduces, from 30 to 15 days, the time frame in which an entity may request a rehearing from the PSC or may file a notice of appeal of a PSC decision after a rehearing.

Under current law, appeals of PSC orders or decisions are heard by the circuit court. The act moves appeals of PSC decisions from the circuit court to the appellate court. Certain information must accompany a notice of appeal.

The act removes provisions pertaining to the authority of the circuit court to stay or suspend a PSC order. The appellate court may stay or suspend a PSC order only when it does not involve the establishment of new rates and charges and when the court determines that great or irreparable harm would otherwise result to the appellant. No stay or suspension may be ordered by the appellate court for PSC decisions that involve new rates or charges. The act provides procedures for the court to order temporary rate adjustments in the event the court finds that the PSC's approved rates and charges were in error. No court may issue a decision affecting a public utility's rates in any case where the court cannot render a decision on its merits due to a lack of adequate findings of fact by the PSC or because the PSC failed to receive properly-offered evidence. In such a case, the PSC must provide such findings of fact or issue a new order within 90 days of the court's determination.

These sections include an emergency clause.

These sections are similar to TAT/CCS/HCS/SB 48 (2011) and HB 967 (2011).

SECTION 393.015 - TERMINATION OF WATER SERVICE

Under current law, no sewer company, municipal sewer utility, or sewer district may cause a person's water service to be terminated prior to sending written notice to the person via certified mail. The act removes the requirement that the notice be sent via certified mail.

This section is identical to TAT/CCS/HCS/SB 48 (2011).

SECTION 393.135 - CONSTRUCTION-WORK-IN-PROGRESS

After October 1, 2011, any electric company seeking an Early Site Permit from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission must submit reports to the PSC every 6 months during the entire permitting process. The reports must document the work completed and costs incurred up to that point toward the acquisition of the Early Site Permit as well as the projected amount of work and costs remaining.

Once the Early Site Permit is obtained, and provided the company complied with the reporting requirement, the electric company may recover up to $45 million of the expenditures, plus interest, for the permit from its ratepayers through rates and charges over a period not to exceed 20 years. The company may begin the cost recovery on the effective date of tariffs approved by the PSC at the company's first general rate proceeding following the acquisition of the permit. Other electric companies that also incur expenses toward the Early Site Permit may similarly recover their costs through rates and charges.

If an electric company has recovered costs from its ratepayers for an Early Site Permit but the company's interest in the Early Site Permit is subsequently sold or transferred, or the company receives reimbursement for the costs from another source, the PSC must decide how the electric company will credit its ratepayers for the moneys received in the sale, transfer or reimbursement.

The PSC must also decide how any profits from a sale or transfer of an Early Site Permit will be shared with ratepayers. Credits made to ratepayers must also include interest.

If the power plant for which the Early Site Permit was acquired is not constructed before the Early Site Permit expires, the PSC must hold a hearing to determine if the electric company acted imprudently by failing to construct the plant. If the PSC determines that the electric company acted imprudently, the PSC must order any company that recovered costs for the Early Site Permit to credit its ratepayers for the costs determined by the PSC to be imprudent. The companies must issue the credits, including interest, over a period of 5 to 10 years.

This section is similar to SS/SCS/HB 462 (2011), SCS/SB 48 (2011), SB 321 (2011), SB 50 (2011), HB 124 (2011), and SB 406 (2011).

SECTION 393.275 - NATURAL GAS UTILITY BAD DEBT

Under current law, rate adjustments in the purchase price of natural gas that are approved by the Public Service Commission (PSC) are exempt from certain provisions relating to business license taxation. The act adds a qualifying provision that any such purchased gas adjustment rates shall include the gas cost portion of net write-offs (i.e., bad debt) incurred by the gas company in providing service to customers. Any such net write-offs may only be recovered once through purchased gas adjustment rates, the act requires an annual true-up of the net write-offs, and the PSC shall annually review gas companies' debt collection efforts.

This act is similar to SB 705 (2010) and HB 1610 (2010) and similar to SCS/SB 299 (2009) and HB 2279 (2008).

SECTIONS 393.1000 TO 393.1003 - ISRS

Currently, only water companies in St. Louis County may establish infrastructure system replacement surcharge (ISRS) rate schedules with the PSC to recover costs associated with eligible infrastructure system replacements. The act allows any water company in any county to establish ISRS rate schedules, but adds a qualifying provision for small water companies that any such ISRS must generate ISRS revenues of at least $10,000. The act also adds certain energy efficiency projects to what is considered to be an eligible infrastructure system replacement.

SECTION 393.1075 - ENERGY EFFICIENCY PROGRAMS

Under current law, an electric utility customer who has received a tax credit for low-income housing or historic preservation is ineligible to participate in an energy-efficiency program offered by the utility if the program provides a monetary incentive. This act makes an exception to this prohibition if the program is designed for low-income customers.

SECTIONS 414.530 TO 414.570 - MISSOURI PROPANE EDUCATION AND RESEARCH COUNCIL

Under current law, there are three ways for the director of the Missouri Energy Center to initiate a referendum on the abolishment of the Missouri Propane Education and Research Council and the fee for odorized propane. This act removes one of these three ways, which is at the discretion of the director.

Current law allows vacancies on the council to be filled by the remaining members of the council, subject to the approval of the director. This act removes the requirement that the director must approve the appointment and instead requires the council to fill vacancies after a public nomination process.

Current law requires the council to submit a budget plan to the director at the beginning of each fiscal period and requires the director to either approve or recommend changes to the budget after a public comment period. The act removes the director's involvement in the budget approval, and instead requires the budget plan be submitted for public comment at least 30 days prior to the beginning of each fiscal period, and authorizes the council to approve or modify the budget after the public comment period.

The act removes the authority of the director to require additional reports from the council at his or her discretion beyond what is already required under current law.

Authority to establish an alternative means to collect the odorized propane fee and set late payment charges is currently given to the director. This act transfers this authority to the council. The interest rate charged for late payments may not exceed the legal rate for judgments.

The act removes provisions that allow the National Propane Education and Research Council to coordinate its operations with Missouri's council and that authorize Missouri's council to keep funds resulting from a federal rebate on propane fees.

These sections are identical to SB 297 (2009).

SECTION 660.122 - UTILICARE

Electric or gas companies shall allow customers who develop an arrearage during the Cold Weather Rule to pay one-third of the arrearage in each of the 3 months following the Cold Weather Rule period in order to retain service.

REPEALED SECTION 386.850 - MISSOURI ENERGY TASK FORCE

This section repeals the statute that requires the Missouri Energy Task Force to reconvene at least once per year to review and report on progress made toward accomplishing the recommendations contained in the task force's final report.

This section is identical to SB 207 (2011) and SS/SCS/HB 462 (2011).

ERIKA JAQUES