Thursday, February 13, 2014

Noranda Files Complaints Against Ameren

Noranda filed two complaints with the Public Service Commission yesterday.   One says that Ameren is “overearning.”  See it here.  (I think these links work, but if not go to the PSC website and search).  The other, presumably based on the first, requests a reduction in their rates.  See it here.

FERAF Statement

The Fair Energy Rate Action Fund today supports the overearnings complaint filed against Ameren Missouri with the Missouri Public Service Commission. The complaint alleges that Ameren has for some time been exceeding the 9.8 percent rate of return on equity currently authorized by the PSC. 

Such overearnings potentially cost Missouri consumers millions of dollars, FERAF noted.

Each quarter Ameren must submit to the PSC staff and other parties a quarterly report of its earnings, called a Surveillance Monitoring Report. The report is required for Ameren to charge Missouri consumers a Fuel Adjustment Surcharge, which shifts 95 percent of the risk of fuel cost increases onto consumers. Ameren has gone to great lengths to keep the reports concealed from the public.

The complaint alleges that the quarterly reports show that Ameren’s actual return on equity exceeds the 9.8 percent the PSC authorized in Ameren's most recent rate case. 

The overearnings complaint was filed by the state's largest consumer of electricity, Noranda Aluminum, at the urging of both residential and business consumers. The complaint asks the PSC to order Ameren to reduce its customers’ rates…

An overearnings complaint is the only way under Missouri law that consumers can remedy the excessive profits of a monopoly utility.

Irl Scissors, MBEF, Statement

Today's PSC filing by Noranda Aluminum, the sole company that enjoys the cheapest rates in the entire state, does a complete disservice to Missouri electric consumers.  This corporation is seeking relief for themselves knowing full well the difference will be made on the backs of Missouri residents and small businesses.

Furthermore, today's effort halts any potential progress regarding Missouri energy policy. Whether it be the electric, gas, or water industry, it doesn’t matter, Noranda’s efforts over the years stifle initiatives that encourage investment in Missouri's energy infrastructure putting Missourians at risk.

 

Noranda alone pays 60 PERCENT LESS than what Missouri residents and small businesses pay for their electricity.  On top of receiving $1.34 million in Missouri tax subsidies just months ago, Noranda is seeking to further decrease their rates, which will be absorbed by other Missouri residents and small businesses…

There are thousands of utility workers working around the clock in every corner of this state.  Their livelihood and the power and infrastructure they provide should not be compromised for the benefit of a single out-of-state company

Our workforce and the safety and reliability of Missouri’s utility infrastructure is crucial to the success of our economy.  I urge Missouri's elected leadership to put Missouri's investment in infrastructure ahead of the benefits of one selfish corporation.

NRA Pouts Over Amendment

Yesterday the Senate Republican caucus met to discuss the gun bill they perfected the night before.  It seems that the amendment by Sen. Jamilah Nasheed was causing consternation from the National Rifle Association.  The NRA didn’t like the requirement that gun owners who have a gun stolen from them report the theft within 72 hours.

The caucus reportedly considered reconsidering the perfection motion.  However the bill sponsor, Sen. Brian Nieves, refused to bow to the NRA after having given his word to his colleague.

So now it appears the SB 613 is dead, and the Senate will await a gun bill from the House to continue their work in this realm of public policy.

Read the Post-Dispatch article about it here.

Benigas in Senate 24?

Yesterday Rep. Sue Allen introduced Susan Benigas as a special guest on the House floor.  And then Benigas spend the day in the Capitol meeting with folks because… she’s considering a run in Senate 24.

Benigas’ Linkedin page lists her job as Executive Director of The Plantrician Project.  Her husband, Jon Benigas is an alderman in Town and Country.

Republicans have been searching for the right candidate in that district since the unlikeliness of Sen. John Lamping running for re-election became clear last year.  Democrats have unified around Rep. Jill Schupp, and Republicans have thought a woman would be the best match-up. 

Rumorville: Henke Comeback?

It’s said that former Rep. Wayne Henke may have one more campaign left in him.  He lost in 2012 to Rep. Robert Cornejo in House 64.  (Cornejo: 51.6% - Henke: 48.4%).

Stronger Missouri

Eli Yokley’s Politcmo reports that a political action committee, Citizens for A Stronger Missouri, was established to back Catherine Hanaway’s bid for governor.  Yesterday two large contributions were recorded for the committee.

Here we go again with the non-transparency issues in Missouri campaign contributions.  Why doesn’t Hanaway just open a committee in her own name?  At the very least, the “Stronger Missouri” folks should have filled out the line on their committee filing which asks if it’s in support of a candidate

Earned Income Tax Credit

Rep. Jeremy LaFaver cheered the passage of his bill to provide a Missouri match to the federal Earned Income Tax Credit.  The House Ways and Means Committee voted it out Tuesday by a vote of 10-3.  Chairman Andrew Koenig was among the 3 dissenters…

Comcast to Buy Time Warner

Wall Street Journal reports: “Comcast said it agreed to buy Time Warner Cable for $45.2 billion in stock, in a deal that would combine the nation’s two biggest cable operators. The boards of both companies have approved the transaction, which was announced Thursday morning. With the proposed deal, Comcast almost certainly ends an eight-month takeover battle for TWC waged by fourth-largest cable operator Charter Communications…”

Comcast’s man in Jefferson City is Tom Krewson, who was seen celebrating the deal last night at Gumbo Bottoms.

Ellinger Chokes on Water?

It sounds more like The Onion, but Missouri Times reports that Rep. Rory Ellinger “began to choke after taking a sip of water…Luckily Rep. Keith English, D-Florissant, acted quickly and gave Ellinger a firm belt, smacking his arm against Ellinger’s back…”  Read it here.

Fundraising Calendar

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

Today is Missouri Press Association Day at the Capitol.  Go hug a reporter!

$5K+ Contributions

Missouri Early Voting Fund - $30,000 from United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

Missourians for Tim Jones - $10,000 from Rpy Pfautch.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Gate Way Group website:

Steven R Carroll added Healthcare Efficiency Solutions.

Birthday

Happy birthday to Governor Jay Nixon (58).