SB 564, a bill to radically transform utility regulations in Missouri, passed the legislature. If signed into law, these changes will:
- Allow electric utilities to apply to the PSC to approve rate schedules authorizing periodic rate adjustments outside of general rate cases, as a result of certain changes in customer usage due to weather and conservation.
- Allow utilities to begin construction, without first obtaining PSC approval, of generators up to 1 MW.
- Allow the PSC to approve investments in small-scale or pilot projects designed to advance the utility’s knowledge of deploying certain technologies, including renewables, microgrids and energy storage.
- Require utilities to offer discounted rates to qualifying customers upon application and public announcement of a growth project through December 31, 2023.
- Require larger utilities to develop a pre-qualification process for contractors seeking to provide construction services for distribution system projects. Contractors may register on the utility’s website and be evaluated for bid opportunities.
- Require larger utilities that elect to defer certain depreciation and return for electric plant placed-in-service to hold constant base rates for three years, while allowing limited increases under certain conditions.
- Require utilities to invest in utility-owned solar facilities. Utilities must invest $3.5 million, $4 million or $14 million by the end of 2023, depending on the number of customers they serve. PSC authorization is not required.
- Require utilities to offer rebates (beginning at $0.50/W and dropping to $0.25/W) for residential PV systems up to 25 kW, and non-residential PV systems up to 150 kW. Aggregate annual rebate limits range from $1.4 million to $5.6 million, varying by utility. Aggregate limits for each utility from 2019 to 2023 also apply. Rebate costs may be recovered through rates. Any reduction in utility load as a result of PV systems not owned by the utility constitutes a conservation measure.