JEFFERSON CITY — Yesterday afternoon the Missouri Senate had on the floor for debate legislation that would help the New Madrid smelter be reopened with an “economic development electric rate subsidy.” The representative from the 149th District, attached an amendment to an unrelated House bill that could have helped accomplished this, but it was hijacked by Ameren — the smelter’s utility provider — before it got to the Senate. This Ameren-supplied amendment would have continued their quest of diminishing the Missouri Public Service Commission’s (PSC) oversight, not just provide a good electric rate for the smelter. The PSC is the consumer protection arm that reviews and approves price adjustments to your Ameren electric bill, ensuring fairness. The bill sponsor’s intent of providing an economic electric special rate would have had my full support, if not for this.
Because people and businesses have no choice from whom to purchase their electricity — anything that reduces the PSC’s oversight of fairness is serious business. Companies, such as Ameren, are a monopoly and, by state law, enjoy NO COMPETITION. This is why we cannot afford any deterioration of the oversight capabilities and responsibilities of the PSC.
Just to be clear, I am not knowingly going to support anything that jeopardizes our current job providers, schools and families’ ability to financially meet their electric bills and other obligations.
Please remember that I have fought for NORANDA all my years here in the Senate against unreasonable rates — in 2013, it would have been a 10 percent surcharge! That alone could have put them under. This surcharge would not have just crippled NORANDA, but also all who Ameren provides electricity.
The Bootheel is a great place, with wonderful folks and a superior work ethic, and we are ready to provide the next business we can attract with a “good day’s work for a good day’s pay.”