Fri. Dec 8th, 2023
The Missouri Public Service Commission is moving forward with a new mandate on electric companies which will mean having to dig deeper into wallets to pay the monthly bills.
According to published reports, two providers, Ameren-Missouri and Evergy, are now being required to use “time of use rates” which means consumers will be billed at a higher rate during the 4-PM to 8-PM peak use time during the summer.
That could translate to monthly electric bills increasing from 9-cents to 38-cents
per kilowatt hour during that time period. The plan also could mean discounted rates during other hours of the day and night.
Affected providers include Ameren, Evergy-Metro & Evergy West formerly KCP&L, Greater Missouri, and Empire District-Liberty.
The PSC ruling is expected to be a topic of debate in the next general assembly.
Evergy Metro, Inc. d/b/a Evergy Missouri Metro and Evergy Missouri West, Inc. d/b/a Evergy Missouri West (Evergy) are scheduled to appear at the Missouri Public Service Commission’s weekly agenda meeting on Thursday, August 10, 2023.
Evergy will be making a presentation to the Commission, providing an update on its Time-Of-Use (TOU) Education Plan.
The agenda meeting will be streamed live on the Public Service Commission website (psc.mo.gov). The agenda meeting is scheduled to begin at noon.
As Evergy Missouri West and Evergy Missouri Metro continue to move toward implementation of time-of-use electric rates for all of its residential customers during the final quarter of 2023, customers have and will continue to receive educational materials with time-of-use (TOU) rate options from the electric companies.
“To aid in those education efforts, the Missouri Public Service Commission Staff has developed a Frequently Asked Questions document for residential customers,” said Jim Busch, Director of the PSC Staff Industry Analysis Division. “This document can be viewed on the PSC website (psc.mo.gov) or by clicking on this link: https://psc.mo.gov/CMSInternetData/ConsumerInformation/PSC%20staff’s%20frequently%20asked%20questions.pdf
“TOU rates charge different prices for kWh of energy based upon when a customer uses that energy,” said Missouri Public Service Commission Chairman Scott Rupp. “When the cost to generate and deliver electricity is higher, the cost for customers to consume electricity will be higher. When the costs are lower, customer rates will be lower. TOU rates provide customers more control over their electric bill. Shifting some electricity to off-peak hours can help a customer lower their monthly energy expenses.”
“We encourage all customers to visit their utility’s website where they can learn which new rate options are the best for their individual household,” said Rupp.
Evergy Missouri Metro provides electric service to approximately 300,840 customers in the Missouri counties of Carroll, Cass, Chariton, Clay, Howard, Jackson, Johnson, Lafayette, Livingston, Pettis, Platte, Randolph and Saline.
Evergy Missouri West provides electric service to approximately 336,640 customers in the Missouri counties of Andrew, Atchison, Barton, Bates, Benton, Buchanan, Carroll, Cass, Cedar, Clay, Clinton, Dade, Daviess, DeKalb, Gentry, Grundy, Harrison, Henry, Holt, Jackson, Johnson, Lafayette, Livingston, Mercer, Nodaway, Pettis, Platte, Ray, St. Clair, Vernon and Worth.
The Missouri Public Service Commission has approved a unanimous agreement filed by parties in an electric rate case filed by Union Electric Company d/b/a Ameren Missouri. Under the agreement, Ameren Missouri will increase annual electric revenues by approximately $140 million.
When Ameren Missouri filed its electric rate request with the Public Service Commission on August 1, 2022, it sought to increase annual electric revenues by approximately $316 million. In its August 2022 filing, Ameren Missouri cited investments in the Ameren Missouri system as part of its Smart Energy Plan, increases in the cost of capital since the Company’s last rate review, higher depreciation costs, and other changes in the cost of providing service to its customers as among the factors driving the rate increase request.
In this case, parties were not able to reach an agreement on how the $140 million rate increase should be distributed among the various customer classes (i.e., residential, commercial, industrial). The Commission held hearings on that issue in April. The Commission has determined that the revenue increase settled in the agreement should be allocated to all customer classes on an equal percentage basis. As part of the Commission’s decision in this rate case, the monthly residential customer charge will remain the same at $9.00 a month. Ameren Missouri is to now file tariffs reflecting the Commission’s decision on the rate design issues as well as a proposed effective date for new electric rates.
This rate case decision will continue to provide rate options for Ameren Missouri residential customers through various Time of Use (TOU) rate structures which first began as a result of an Ameren Missouri rate case in 2019 (ER-2019-0335) and continued in the 2021 Ameren Missouri rate case (ER-2021-0240). “TOU rate options provide customers with rate choice options and a means to save money on their utility bills and cut peak demand at the same time,” said the Commission.
TOU rates charge different prices for kWh of energy based upon when a customer uses it which typically means a lower per kWh rate for usage during off-peak hours and a higher per kWh rate for usage during on-peak hours. The various TOU rate plans offer larger and smaller differences in these pricing periods. Shifting some electricity usage to off-peak hours can help a customer lower their monthly electric bill. TOU residential rate plans are available for all Ameren Missouri customers with AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) meters and approximately two thirds of Ameren Missouri customers have AMI meters.
As a result of this rate case, Ameren Missouri residential customers will move to a new default rate unless they select an optional TOU rate. The new default rate (Smart Saver Default Rate) would apply to customers who do not yet have an AMI meter or customers establishing a new account.
“In order for Ameren Missouri to have sufficient time to institute an effective education program to inform customers about TOU rate impacts, to permit Ameren Missouri time to engage with customers about the new default rate, and so customers have time to adjust their usage patterns before next summer, the Commission finds that the Smart Saver Default rate must take effect no later than March 31, 2024,” said the Commission.
Under the agreement approved by the Commission, Ameren Missouri’s Keeping Current and Keeping Cool budget will increase to approximately $4.25 million with funding provided 50% from customers and 50% from the Company. Ameren Missouri has agreed to meet, as part of the Low-Income Collaborative Group, to discuss methods for legally reducing disconnections in zip codes with the highest percentage of customers being involuntarily disconnected.
Under the agreement, the Keeping Current/Keeping Cool program will undergo some changes such as: 1) increase the Keeping Cool amount seniors receive to $50; and 2) increase flexibility for enrollment criteria by allowing participants with up to two weeks of a past due balance.
Also under the agreement, the Rehousing Program budget and the Critical Needs Program budget will be $500,000 each annually, with funding provided 50% from customers and 50% from the Company. In addition, the Low-Income Weatherization Program budget will be approximately $1.2 million annually.
Ameren Missouri serves approximately 1.29 million electric customers in Missouri.