Bill targets ‘unfair’ utility pricing rules

Legislation intended to ‘protect seniors and families’

Freshman state Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, will announce today his plans to file legislation “to protect Missourians against unfair utility pricing rules which require Missouri families to subsidize Apollo Management Group, a New York hedge fund owned by billionaire investor Leon Black.”

Barnes identified Black as “a famous bond-trader” who “owns Noranda Aluminum Company, a smelter in southeast Missouri which enjoys special utility rates at the expense of working Missouri families.”

Barnes argues that, “under those special rules, electric power is 250 percent more expensive for Missouri families than it is for Noranda, and during the last rate increase, Missouri families were saddled with a 10,000 percent rate increase higher than Noranda.”

His news release did not provide details of the bill he’s introducing, but Barnes said the proposal could lead to lower utility bills for Missouri families.

“Leon Black needs to pay his fair share,” Barnes said in the news release. “We shouldn’t have a system that’s gamed in favor of an out-of-state billionaire against Missouri’s elderly and working families.

“Missouri families should not have to pay higher utility bills just to pad Leon Black’s already thick wallet.”

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Noranda has been identified as one of Ameren Missouri’s chief commercial consumers, requiring vast amounts of electricity for its aluminum smelter at New Madrid, in southeast Missouri.

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