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Thu Jan 24, 2013, 07:56 PM

Consumer advocates blast electric utility surcharge bill

Consumer groups wasted no time criticizing legislation filed Thursday that would allow Ameren Missouri and other electric utilities to get paid more quickly for a range of infrastructure projects, from work on power plants to transmission facilities to so-called “smart grid” investments.

Senate Bill 207 filed by Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, would “remove unnecessary regulatory barriers” that discourage utilities from making needed infrastructure upgrades, he said in a statement.

But consumer groups immediately called the bill anti-consumer and part of a continued assault by investor-owned electric utilities to undo a decades-old rate-making process that’s served the state well and helped maintain reasonable rates in Missouri.

“The last thing Missourians need is for the legislature to allow another surcharge to be added to their electric bill,” Chris Roepe of the Fair Electricity Rate Action Fund said in a statement.

http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/52744f91-a1c8-5b37-8be5-4e2774453027.html

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