A former state regulator who also served as Speaker of the Missouri House tells a St. Louis group that consumers have little influence at the State Capitol. Steve Gaw left the Legislature to make an unsuccessful bid for statewide office. He then became a member of the Public Service Commission. He recently left the PSC, which sets utility rates.

Gaw has told the Consumer Council of Missouri that even the good lawmakers in Jefferson City have little understanding of the arcane issues of utility regulation. He says that grants more power to the lobbyists he says have been successful in pushing through legislation making it easier for utilities to raise rates. And Gaw adds that a shift in attitude has led the PSC to more freely grant rate hikes than in the past.