A consumer advocate cautions state senators against throwing out a 30-year old law keeping utilities from charging customers for a new power plant until it goes into operation. Senators have been briefed on future energy issues facing Missouri and possible that will need to be passed to deal with them.
Ameren-UE’s possible plans to build a second nuclear power plant in Callaway County is not the only issue but it’s the biggest single issue in the discussions. Ameren says it cannot afford to build the plant if the Construction Work in Progress provision remains on the state law books. But spokesman John Coffman for the Consumer Council of Missouri urges state senators to tread carefully in thinking about repeal or modification of it. He says, "That statute, in my opinion, has saved Missouri consumers hundreds of millions of dollars a year…I think that statute has served Missouri well."
He also calls it is a strong deterrent against cost overruns or overbuilding by utility companies. Ameren says the the inability to have customers help pay construction costs of the first plant meant higher bills once it went on line, a situation that will be repeated with Callaway Two, assuming Ameren can afford to build it under the present law.