Press Release from Senate Majority Caucus Communications Director

JEFFERSON CITY – Consumers would be better protected from an energy consortium’s efforts to pass costs onto rate payers in relation to efforts to obtain a site permit to build a second nuclear power plant in CallawayCounty thanks to legislation introduced today by Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, and Senate Leader Robert N. Mayer, R-Dexter. The measure, Senate Bill 406, details a three-pronged approach to protect consumers including a hard cap of $40 million on the amount of money a utility could recover, a rebate plan for consumers in the case that the plant is either never built or fails to generate electricity, and a steady course of funding for the Office of Public Counsel in the Missouri Public Service Commission. The commission is the regulatory arm that oversees Missouri utilities. The Office of Public Counsel represents consumers in cases before the Public Service Commission.

“I am supportive of making sure that Missouri has abundant and clean energy supplies for our future, but consumers should not have to foot the bill and take all the risk for this to happen,” said Crowell. “This bill is a real vehicle to move this issue forward because it includes all three provisions that consumer and business advocates have been clearly seeking from day one of this debate.”

Sen. Mayer said it is important to balance Missouri’s energy needs with consumer protections.

“I applaud Sen. Kehoe for championing efforts to secure Missouri’s energy future,” Mayer said. “However, Sen. Crowell’s bill offers the greatest consumer protections I’ve seen to date.”

The bill is endorsed by two consumer and business advocacy groups. The first is the Fair Energy Rate Action Fund (FERAF) that is comprised of the AARP, Missouri Association of Social Welfare, Consumers Council of Missouri, Anheuser-Busch, Noranda Aluminum, Ford Motor Company, and the Missouri Retailers Association. The second group is the Missouri Industrial Energy Consumers (MIEC) that is comprised of Monsanto, Doe Run, General Motors, Anheuser-Busch and a dozen other large Missouri industrial companies.

“It is important that any legislative proposal that advances contain protections for businesses and residential ratepayers, who are being asked to underwrite the cost,” said Dave Overfelt, president of FERAF. “Consumers shouldn’t be asked to assume 100 percent of the risk. The utilities should be held accountable, which this proposal would do.”

“We support Sen. Crowell’s bill because it provides appropriate and necessary consumer protections,” said Diana Vuylsteke of the MIEC.