The top Democrat in the State Senate has asked the Senate leader to convene hearings on the Public Service Commission in wake of reports that PSC members have had private meetings with utility executives prior to official action.

Sen. Maida Coleman (D-St. Louis) says the Senate has an obligation to follow-up reports that PSC Chairman Jeff Davis and others had private meetings with an Aquila executive about its proposed merger with Kansas City Power and Light. During a hearing on the merger, an e-mail from Aquila CEO Richard Green became part of the public record. In the e-mail to the Aquila board, Green says Davis is eager to push the merger through, quickly, to prove that "he can push deals through" in Missouri. The e-mail came well before the merger proposal was made public.

The State Public Counsel, which represents consumers before the PSC, has stated that the private meetings between PSC members and utility executives give a strong appearance of impropriety. Davis came under political fire for his action. He has since recused himself from the case.

Coleman has met with Davis, who told her the PSC plans its own hearings on the matter. Coleman says she will still pursue a Senate investigation of the PSC. She says she has assured Davis she won’t be conducting a witch hunt, but feels the Senate is obligated to provide oversight since it approves the members of the PSC. Coleman says the actions of the PSC have to be "above board", that their integrity never has to be questioned.

Great Plans Energy Incorporated, which owns Kansas City Power and Light, plans to present a revised proposal next month to the PSC. The proposed merger with Aquila totals $1.7 billion. 

Download/listen Brent Martin reports (:60 MP3)