I hope this summer finds you cool and well. The legislative session ended in May with little fanfare regarding energy policy. Despite strong momentum thanks in part to an impassioned floor speech for jobs by Rep. Don Rone, our effort to push grid modernization and economic development came up short.
Energy Special Session
A lifeline was thrown, however, when Governor Greitens called a special session not only to entice new jobs in the Bootheel, but also to update Missouri Public Service Commission regulations to allow for a more efficient plan to modernize and fortify our energy grid. Special sessions are rare, so for the Governor to recognize that upgrading Missouri’s power grid is a priority for the state, we consider that a bold step in the right direction.
Though the power rate incentives successfully passed to allow perspective jobs to come to Southeast Missouri, the legislature missed the opportunity to create thousands of jobs statewide by passing grid modernization legislation in the special session. We applaud President Pro tem Richard, Commerce and Energy Chairman Silvey, Senator Libla, Speaker Richardson and Rep. Rone on their hard work to address at least a portion of the special session call.
After some impassioned speeches by Senators Emery, Wallingford and others about the absolute urgent need to upgrade our grid to help consumers and protect against cyber threats, the business of the General Assembly was left unfinished.
You can bet we will pick up where we left off last month and finish strong next year.
RRA Drops Missouri’s Credit Rating
Another significant development is the news that the Regulatory Research Associates (RRA), an independent research firm specializing in utility securities and regulation, downgraded Missouri two notches – an almost unheard of decline. The drop was the result the Show Me State’s inability to adopt meaningful changes to its regulatory structure, therefore keeping outdated regulations in place.
Missouri dropped into the bottom six states, reflecting poorly on all Missouri utilities, dissuading investors, making it more difficult to borrow capital, and ultimately hurting consumers. We have yet to feel the real impact of this downgrade. Unless the Missouri General Assembly moves on grid modernization legislation, we will see limited improvements until then.
Since the end of the first special session, a number of energy headlines have flooded our news cycles. See some of them below: