In response to the Missouri Grocers Association's ill-informed letter on June 30 the Missouri Energy Development Association (MEDA) strongly urges Gov. Nixon to approve SB240, legislation that would enhance Missouri's gas infrastructure while protecting consumers just like the grocers. SB240 received overwhelming support in the Legislature by a vote of 26-6 in the Senate and 110-45 in the House.
While the grocers organization never weighed in on this issue once during the legislative session, it is important to understand that SB240 makes no changes to the type of costs that can be recovered through the regulatory mechanism known as "gas ISRS" or to the current level of regulatory oversight. Instead, the enhancements to gas ISRS in SB240 would enable gas utilities to file general rate cases less frequently and would subject them to a new and proportionally lower overall cap.
Since the processing of a rate case can cost consumers millions of dollars, less frequent rate cases truly benefit consumers. In addition, SB240 will more accurately reconcile the uncollectible levels in between general rate cases and will ensure for the first time that consumers do not overpay for the actual cost of those uncollectibles.
From 2003-2012 in the month of July, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, the consumer price index for piped natural gas per thermal unit has actually decreased, while grocers items like bread, milk, ground beef, and eggs have significantly increased in cost during that time. Certain billion dollar, multi-national corporations with undetermined commitments to Missouri's future have unfortunately and inaccurately influenced other entities, like the grocers, evaluations of the safety and reliability-based provisions of SB240 to benefit themselves.
The truth is the provisions in SB240 will continue to enhance the safety and reliability of our Missouri natural gas system to the benefit and protection of all consumers at a very conservative, well managed cost.