Your Opinion: ISRS viewpoints vary — employee's perspective

Dear Editor:

I’ve worked in the electric utility industry 30 plus years in Mid-Missouri — a career that I’m proud of that’s associated with providing safe, clean, reliable and affordable electricity to my neighbors. This career also has allowed me to support my family.

Currently, the Missouri Legislature has a chance to help thousands of others have similar job opportunities, while also improving reliability for electric consumers. This win-win is the main reason I support the Infrastructure Strengthening and Regulatory Streamlining (ISRS) legislation.

Additionally, the electric utilities (like the water and natural gas utilities) have a responsibility to deliver quality services to Missourians. But water and natural gas utility laws allow them to immediately recognize any costs associated with replacing and upgrading infrastructure, once it has been placed in service. Consumers enjoy the benefits of increased reliability and pay for that reliability only when it’s benefiting them.

The Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) protects consumers by performing prudency audits of these projects. If the PSC finds imprudent project costs or expenditures; they don’t allow a utility to recover those costs through the rates they charge their customers; only the prudent costs are allowed. This is simply the right way of doing business — having customers pay for adequate services rendered at the time they are rendered. The investor-owned electric utilities and their Missouri customers would greatly benefit from the same infrastructure cost-recovery approach that the natural gas and water utilities have utilized for more than a decade.

On a personal note; my passion for ISRS stems from a trip to Dallas last summer with my daughter’s summer basketball team. I was at dinner with some other parents and one of their friends. Since it was a hot day, the person from Dallas described the rolling blackouts that have become somewhat routine in their area. I was stunned! I became concerned that if Texas could let reliable electric service fail that might foreshadow things to come for Missouri. The fact is Missouri has an aging electric infrastructure and there are investments that need to be made to improve this infrastructure to keep the reliability that we enjoy.

I’m proud of the state legislators that have supported this bill. I urge legislators who haven’t already joined in support of the ISRS legislation to consider the tremendous opportunities for Missouri.

We can’t afford to pass this up. This really is “win–win” for Missouri.

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