Electric 'surcharge' proposal limping after first airing

State Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, said late Wednesday his proposal to allow Missouri's regulated electric companies to add a surcharge to customers' bills isn't dead.

But it never came to a vote during a three-hour, 20-minute debate and filibuster Wednesday evening.

"What you do is, you get these (ideas) out and you see what the conversation is," Kehoe told reporters after the Senate's Wednesday session ended. "It's a big issue, so you have to try to figure out what's going on ...

"And keep talking to people."

Kehoe supports the idea of letting the state's three investor-owned electric companies make infrastructure improvements and add those costs to their customers' bills before having a full-blown rate hearing at the Public Service Commission.

Opponents argue that Ameren Missouri, KCP&L and Empire District Electric make enough money to pay for the needed repairs without having the surcharge authority.

"You've got to start determining if energy policy is going to be done by the people who are elected by their constituents," Kehoe said, "or by special interests. ...

"What I would like to do is just sit down with senators and try to work out some resolution to this, without all the paid 'suits' being in the room."

With only two weeks to go until the legislative session must end, Kehoe thinks there still is time to work out those differences.

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