|A court decision recently was cited as a victory for both the Public Service Commission and energy efficiency advocates like Renew Missouri and ratepayers set to enjoy the commission's rules that created new and expanded efficiency programs.
On January 15, 2013, the Western District Court of Appeals upheld the rules promulgated by the PSC to enact the Missouri Energy Efficiency Investment Act, a law passed in 2009 to allow large electric utilities to recover the costs of major energy efficiency programs.
The Missouri Office of the Public Counsel (OPC), Ameren Missouri and Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L) challenged the PSCís rules over the issues of how and when utilities may recover the costs of lower revenues due to the decreased electricity sales as a result of efficiency programs. When the Cole County Circuit Court affirmed the PSCís rules, OPC and the utilities appealed the decision. Renew Missouri, a non-profit energy policy group based in Columbia and the leading advocacy group for energy efficiency in Missouri, represented by Great Rivers Environmental Law Center, intervened in the case.
PJ Wilson, director of Renew Missouri stated: ďToday's ruling is the second time in two months that a Missouri Appellate Court has upheld the PSC's ability to promulgate effective and legal rules. Since utilities are already moving forward with major new efficiency programs based on the MEEIA law, today's ruling gives confidence to those in the energy efficiency industry in Missouri moving forward.Ē
Although energy efficiency is the cleanest and lowest cost resource available to utilities, Missouri has lagged behind many other states in making major efficiency investments. The American Council for an Energy-Efficiency Economy (ACEEE) recently ranked Missouri 43rd in the country for energy efficiency. However, since the passage of MEEIA, Missouriís two largest utilities (Ameren and KCP&L) have committed to investing hundreds of millions of dollars in new efficiency programs that could result in significant savings for ratepayers and reduced consumption of fossil fuels like coal.