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IPFS News Link • Energy

State Lawmaker Introduces Legislation to Protect Utility Consumers from Mandated Time...

•, By B.N. Frank

Most American energy consumers are NOT signing up for "Time of Use" (TOU) and "Demand Response" energy programs because of the risk that they would wind up with much higher bills if/when they use energy during "peak" hours.  Because of this, some utility companies have already started forcing consumers onto these programs (see 12).  Now a state lawmaker in Missouri is fighting back.

From the Missouri Independent:

Missouri legislative leader files bill targeting time-of-use utility pricing plans

Senate Majority Leader Cindy O'Laughlin expects energy regulation to be a 'hot topic' in the upcoming legislative session

By: Allison Kite

One of Missouri's highest-ranking lawmakers hopes to stop state regulators from forcing electric utilities to charge a premium for power used at times of high demand.

The legislation filed by Senate Majority Leader Cindy O'Laughlin was inspired by Evergy's roll out of time-of-use pricing plans to its customers last summer, which included a plan that would have quadrupled customers' charges for energy used at times of high demand.

The new rates were mandated by the Public Service Commission, a five-member board appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate that oversees investor-owned utilities in Missouri.

The goal of time-of-use rates is to save consumers money in the long run by limiting demand on the energy grid. But they immediately inspired public backlash, including from O'Laughlin, R-Shelbina.

"It's not the job of the Public Service Commission to dictate to consumers the time of day that they can use power," O'Laughlin said in an interview last week.

O'Laughlin said she expects energy regulation to be a  "hot topic" when the Missouri General Assembly returns to Jefferson City. In addition to her time-of-use legislation, she's also sponsoring a bill she says would ensure grid reliability by requiring utilities to add at least an equivalent amount of energy generation to the grid before decommissioning a power plant.

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