House panel hears comments on Callaway early site permit bill

The plan to have consumers help pay for the planning work on a proposed second nuclear reactor in Callaway County got its first hearing of the year Tuesday afternoon.

But the House Utilities Committee took no vote on Rep. Jeanie Riddle’s version of the Early Site Permit bill.

“It is exactly the same as the amendment that we voted on the floor last year, with 121 ‘yes’ to 21 ‘noes,’” Riddle, R-Mokane, said.

She said this year’s proposal includes a $45 million “cap on funds a corporation can seek to recover over a 20-year period,” and that ratepayers can get their money back — plus interest — if “the electric corporation sells or transfers the ESP,” doesn’t get a final license from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, “or does not commence construction on a nuclear generating facility before the ESP expires and the Public Service Commission determines (the company) acted imprudently.”

Riddle’s bill also increases funding to the state’s Office of Public Counsel — which represents consumers in PSC rate cases for regulated utilities.

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