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Your Opinion: Utility infrastructure bill will create jobs

Your Opinion: Utility infrastructure bill will create jobs

February 27th, 2013 by David Hollabaugh, Fulton in News

Dear Editor:

There are clear benefits to recent electric utility legislation introduced by Sen. Mike Kehoe and Rep. Jeanie Riddle. And those benefits can be summed up in one word - jobs. Our state needs them, and ISRS legislation will create them in the short term and the long term.

It's great that Sen. Kehoe and Rep. Riddle want to think about the future of the state - good jobs and affordable energy. We won't continue to have affordable, reliable power if our utilities can't replace 50-year-old substations.

Also, new industry will go to other states if we refuse to make basic investments that minimize service interruptions and meet the demands of today's consumers. Thank goodness two leaders in the Legislature recognize the need to act now.

I've been dismayed by some of the opposition's tangled logic. Some simultaneously bash the Missouri Public Service Commission, while also opposing efforts to streamline the burdensome regulations that lead to rate spikes. Missourians who support jobs ought to recognize our state benefits when financially healthy utilities deliver affordable, reliable power. Let's remember that utilities' dividends are a major economic benefit for a large number of Missourians who hold stock in their home state's utilities.

Certainly we want to make sure consumers are protected. I don't think that rate cases taking almost a year are the best way to do that. The Public Service Commission will be able to do its job well under ISRS legislation. There's a rate cap for these infrastructure investments, and we've seen it work well with water and natural gas utilities for the past decade in our state

It's nice to see that some of our elected officials can think about the long-term economic needs for Missouri. I hope the rest of the General Assembly can get on board.