JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Missouri utilities want lawmakers to pass a law to help them get money more quickly from customers to pay for infrastructure improvements.
Ameren Missouri and other utilities told a panel of state senators Wednesday that a proposed bill to recover costs would enable modernization and could promote economic development.
The idea drew opposition from consumer advocates and companies such as Wal-Mart who say it’s not needed and will lead to higher utility bills. Critics argued it will unfairly help utilities at the expense of consumers and slammed a carve-out to allow lead producer Doe Run to get better rates. Republican Sen. Gary Romine says increases to pay for infrastructure improvements would be on top of regular rate increases. He criticized it as a tax.
A similar proposal died last year.