New: State utility regulator equates renewable energy developers to train robbers

One of the members of Missouri’s utility regulating body this week urged the state Senate Rules Committee to reject a rule adopted by his commission that would require electric utilities use only Missouri-generated renewable energy to comply with a 2008 voter-approved renewable energy requirement.

Public Service Commission member Jeff Davis contended the rule would lead to higher electric bills because it would deny utilities the ability to meet their renewable energy requirements from cheaper non-Missouri sources.

Davis told the Senate Rules Committee that the rule was being pushed by a small group of Missouri renewable energy investors whom he equated to members of the Jesse James gang.

“You may have to go back to that day when the James gang held up their first train on Gad’s Hill to witness such a shameless attempt at plundering the innocent,” Davis told the Senate panel on Jan. 13. “Only this time, the victims aren’t train passengers, they are your constituents. They are the utility customers who are getting a lug put on their monthly electric bill to pay for someone else’s largess.”

Davis was one of two members on the five-member PSC to vote against the Missouri-only requirement.

The commission chairman, Robert Clayton, said that Proposition C requires Missouri-only renewable power.

And he told the Senate committee that approach benefited the state.

“I ask you whether that really is the will of the voters to create renewable energy in Arizona or Texas or Florida or South America or Africa or Europe,” Clayton said. “Or did they intend for development in Missouri?”

The commission’s legal counsel told the Senate committee the voter-approved measure was clear and left the commission with no choice but to require Missouri-only renewable energy.

The Senate committee took no immediate action on the resolution to reject the PSC rule. Under state law, an administrative regulation can be struck down by a resolution adopted by both the House and Senate.

— Missouri Digital News