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Activist disputes consultant’s views on utility regulatory reform

Chris Roepe, executive director of the Fair Energy Rate Action Fund, has challenged the Missouri utility analysis offered by Jim Moody, a state government consultant who was the featured speaker on April 11 at the annual Salute banquet meeting of the Fulton Area Development Corporation (FADC).

A political activist who has opposed many of Ameren Missouri’s legislative efforts in recent years, Roepe disagreed that state utility regulation laws need to be changed to permit Ameren Missouri to recover its utility infrastructure upgrade costs sooner.

Moody told the FADC he was hired as a consultant for a group supporting the utility regulation reform legislation. He said Missouri’s current utility law has a regulatory lag that cripples the credit ratings of Ameren Missouri and other major private utilities in Missouri.

When Missouri’s private utilities spend money on improvements, Moody said they often must wait from two to three years before they can have utility rate adjustments to repay borrowed money used to finance those expenses.

As a result of the regulatory lag, Moody said, Ameren Missouri has a BBB- bond rating, worse than 94 percent of other major utilities in the nation.

This causes Ameren Missouri to pay interest rates far higher than utilities in other states with modern utility regulations.

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