A new bill passed in the US state of Missouri is expected to help utilities improve customer services, provide affordable electricity and accelerate grid modernisation.
The Missouri Senate Bill 564, signed early June after gaining support from 85% of the general assembly, will reduce energy tariffs by 5% for customers of Ameren Missouri.
The enacted law will enable the introduction of energy price caps and help Ameren Missouri raise funds to develop a smarter, resilient and secure grid network.
Elements of the new law include:
Rate Cut – The law fosters the quick return of more than $100 million annually in federal tax savings to Ameren Missouri customers, which translates to a more than 5% rate cut for the average customer.
Rate Freeze – The bill freezes rate adjustments for Ameren Missouri customers until April 2020.
Rate Caps – Over the next five years, the law limits Ameren Missouri rate increases to a 2.85% compound annual growth rate, applied to electric rates established April 1, 2017. This unprecedented rate cap, the first in Missouri and the most stringent in the United States, represents an average increase of about half the annual average electric rates have gone up each year over the past decade in Missouri, for investor-owned utilities.
Grid Modernisation – A $1 billion plan from Ameren Missouri will create jobs in the state of Missouri, bolster grid security and upgrade the energy delivery system with smart technologies. The full plan, detailing improvements over the next five years, is expected to be submitted to the Missouri Public Service Commission by early 2019.
Solar Energy – The law encourages renewable energy by providing up to $28 million in solar rebates for customers, starting in 2019. The law also calls for Ameren Missouri to allocate $14 million to utility-owned solar by 2023.
Economic Development – To drive economic growth, rate incentives were established to support Missouri businesses that expand their operations.
Following the passing of the bill, Ameren Missouri has on the 1st of June filed a petition with the Public Service Commission to lower energy tariffs and introduce caps for its customers.
Chris Ventura, executive director of the Consumer Energy Alliance in Midwest, added:"As advocates for families, small businesses and households, we are pleased that the new law provides for the first rate caps in Missouri and will return more than $100 million to consumers within 90 days of becoming law."
Daniel P. Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, added: "The rate cuts and caps signed into law will allow businesses to grow, while the economic development incentives included in SB 564 will further enhance Missouri's reputation as a low-cost energy state.
"The work done during the 2018 legislative session to make Missouri a better place to create jobs is some of the most productive in the past decade. In particular, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry is proud to have worked with lawmakers to cut utility bills for Missourians."