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Missouri regulators open proceeding to determine long-term RTO membership benefits

October 22, 2020

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
October 22, 2020

The Missouri Public Service Commission has opened a proceeding to determine the long-term benefits of continued membership in a regional transmission organization (RTO) by the state’s investor-owned electric utilities.

“The Commission believes there are benefits in RTO membership but long-term costs and commitments of RTO membership, especially given the structure, services, and membership of both Southwest Power Pool (SPP) and Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) continue to change significantly with the passage of time,” the PSC said in an Oct. 19 news release.

In order to determine whether continued membership in an RTO is in the ratepayers’ best interest, the PSC “must inquire into the nature of the benefits of RTO membership, the monetized value of those benefits, and what time horizons should be employed to compare asset lives (costs) to the values of benefits streams,” it said.

The PSC directed the state’s investor-owned utilities to take part in a workshop and cooperate with Commission Staff in its investigation.

PSC Staff and the electric utilities will determine:

  • The kind of information needed to respond to the Commission’s current and previous orders on RTO membership;
  • Whether such information is reasonably and economically available, and if not, what kind of information could be used as a proxy to control costs and expeditiously respond to the Commission;
  • The cost of gathering, analyzing, and interpreting such information; and
  • Whether there are any identifiable “deal breaker” events or categories of events that would make it unreasonable for a Missouri investor-owned utility to remain in an RTO

PSC staff will file a report related to its findings by June 30, 2021.

The PSC order opening the proceeding is available here.