Electric utilities in Missouri will come under new maintenance requirements. Public Service Commission Chairman Jeff Davis says the PSC has approved new inspection requirements to improve electric service reliability. The requirements affect AmerenUE, Kansas City Power and Light, Aquila and The Empire District Electric Company, the state’s four investor-owned utilities.

The PSC has been working to improve reliability ever since the ice storms that struck southwest Missouri and St. Louis that followed the spring storms. Those storms knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of Missourians. Some homes went without power for days. Others did without electricity for weeks.

Tree trimming was the first issue the PSC addressed. It required utilities to begin much more aggressive tree trimming policies to keep limbs from falling on power lines. It now has issued requirements for inspecting utility poles, power lines, transformers and other infrastructure. Visual inspections of utility poles, wires, transformers and underground facilities will have to be conducted every four years in urban areas and every six years in rural areas. A more detailed inspection is required every eight years in urban areas and 12 years in rural areas. Utility poles will have to undergo a thorough inspection every 12 years.