GET ENGAGED IN OUR ENERGY POLICY INITIATIVE
PUBLIC HEARING OPPORTUNITIES

June 9 at 6:00 p.m.
Caruthersville Armory
801 West 3rd Street
Caruthersville, MO

June 10 at 6:00 p.m.
Harris Stowe State University
Givens Administration Building
Main Auditorium, #112,
3026 Laclede
St. Louis, MO

June 11 at 6:00 p.m.
Governor Office Building
200 Madison Street
Room #450
Jefferson City, MO

The PSC provides the ability for citizens to weigh in and comment on these cases in case you can’t participate in the public hearings. You can go to the comment page on the PSC website by CLICKING HERE. Make sure to enter Case/Tracking No. EC-2014-0224 at the bottom of the form before submitting.

Last week we sent an email to our members announcing our Energy Policy Initiative. Our state and nation’s economic future is under attack with proposed new rules to address an unproven problem with unsound actions that will not change anything at all – except cost jobs and depress our economy. Click Here for a good read on the topic. The states can and should push back on these job killing, economy killing policies!

United for Missouri is taking an active role not only in legislative issues regarding our energy future but also in cases before the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC). We sought but have been denied intervener status in two (2) Noranda Aluminum, LLC (Noranda) vs Ameren Missouri (Ameren) cases currently before the PSC. However, we are encouraging our members and all Missourians to get engaged in them as they impact not only Missouri’s future energy policy but our fiscal policy as well. Here are the two cases before the PSC and on which the public hearings will be conducted.

File No. EC-2014-0223 deals with an allegation of overcharging by Ameren. Under our regulated utility system, public utilities are guaranteed a reasonable opportunity to earn a return on their investment through state authorized rates. This case should be relatively straightforward to determine whether Ameren has excess profits or not by simply reviewing the data. The key will be in what set of data will be reviewed. This case will be determined by the facts and not policy.

File No. EC-2014-0224 is quite different. Noranda runs an aluminum smelter in New Madrid, Missouri. They employ a large number of people in southeast Missouri, western Tennessee and Kentucky. Noranda became an Ameren customer in 2005, and even though they use a tremendous amount of electricity, Ameren did not add any additional capacity to serve Noranda’s electrical needs.

Noranda’s aluminum smelters require tremendous amounts of electricity and run constantly. Consequently they are Ameren’s largest industrial user. According to Ameren, Noranda currently has the lowest electric rates of any Ameren customer industrial, commercial or residential (that would be you and me). Ameren reports Noranda currently has a rate significantly below what their residential customers pay. Ameren and PSC staff say the rate requested by Noranda, something more in line with what Noranda believes it can afford, is a rate below what it costs Ameren to provide the service.

Understandably, large users have rates lower than the rest of us as they are more constant and consistent users of electricity. Consider it as buying electricity in bulk. Noranda’s filing claims they are at a competitive disadvantage on their electric costs and requests they be given a lower rate by the PSC. They and those who support their request suggest that without such consideration, the smelter in New Madrid may be shutdown resulting in all other Ameren customers picking up the costs for the power that was being used by Noranda since Ameren is given a certain profit target.

As you might suspect, Ameren and those in opposition to the Noranda request claim otherwise. Ameren claims that they will be able to sell what would then be excess power on the “market” at a rate higher than what Noranda pays thereby reducing the amount other customers need to pay to reach Ameren’s profit target.

To be sure, Noranda is a valuable employer in Missouri and one we hope remains, providing good paying jobs in our state. Our interest, and that of our over 76,000 members statewide is the greater policy issue contained within this request. The request exceeds the authority of the PSC. The PSC is a state agency of limited jurisdiction, State ex rel. Kansas City Power & Light Co. v. Buzard, 168 S.W.2d 1044, 1046 (Mo. banc 1943). It is statutorily prohibited from granting unduly preferential or discriminatory rates. Noranda’s request for preferential or discriminatory rates belongs in the legislature, not before an appointed board.

While United for Missouri does not support the state picking winners and losers, we believe that the discussion of this policy belongs in the hands of those accountable to the citizens of Missouri, their elected senators and representatives. The PSC does a very good job at being transparent. However, the policy impact of this request requires the exposure that will only come through legislative debate.

You have several opportunities to weigh in on this important public policy issue. The PSC has set three (3) public hearings for this case. These hearings are:

June 9 at 6:00 p.m.
Caruthersville Armory
801 West 3rd Street
Caruthersville, MO

June 10 at 6:00 p.m.
Harris Stowe State University
Givens Administration Building
Main Auditorium, #112,
3026 Laclede
St. Louis, MO

June 11 at 6:00 p.m.
Governor Office Building
200 Madison Street
Room #450
Jefferson City, MO

The PSC provides the ability for citizens to weigh in and comment on these cases in case you can’t participate in the public hearings. You can go to the comment page on the PSC website by CLICKING HERE. Make sure to enter Case/Tracking No. EC-2014-0224 at the bottom of the form before submitting.

You can make a difference by getting involved. We encourage to attend any of the public hearings you may be able to and take time to comment.