House committee recommends ESP passage

The House Utilities Committee on Thursday morning recommended the full House debate, and pass, a bill encouraging Missouri’s electric utilities to seek a Nuclear Regulatory Commission early site permit for another reactor at the AmerenMissouri site near Reform in Callaway County.

On a 7-2 vote, the committee endorsed substitute language at sponsor Rep. Jeanie Riddle’s request, so the version going to the House floor is the same as Sen. Mike Kehoe’s version in the Senate.

“I did that, based on the testimony we heard (Tuesday) in the Utilities Committee,” said Riddle, R-Mokane. “All parties involved said that they still honored the compromise agreement that they came to at the end of (last year’s) session.”

Current Missouri law requires an investor-owned utility to be providing its product to consumers before the owners can include the plant’s construction costs in the rate-base, subject to Public Service Commission approval.

(Municipal and cooperative utilities don’t have the same rules, and are allowed to charge consumers as their construction work’s costs occur).

In spite of the law, which voters adopted in 1976, the early site permit bill would allow an investor-owned utility to charge consumers for the costs of getting the permit, which is the first-step in getting the NRC to approve construction of a new nuclear energy power plant.

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