Members of the Missouri House are wading through a big bill on utility regulation, one that supporters say is not just important for the utilities of the state, but for its consumers as well. A major part of the bill provides an incentive for utilities to build new coal-fire generators, something that hasn’t been done in Missouri in 20 years. Sponsor Rex Rector of Harrisonville says his bill calls for the Public Service Commission to approve the rate structure a utility would propose to pay for a billion dollar plant. Pre-PSC approval of a rate structure could drop the interest rate a percentage point, saving the utility $10-Million a year which could be reflected in lower electric bills. Representative Connie Johnson of St. Louis sees problems with approving rates on the front end of a seven-year construction period. Still, that part of the bill passes. More work must be completed, before the House votes on preliminary approval of the entire bill.
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