April 19, 2024 Less than a minute read

Missouri Chamber supports utility bill to spur business expansion

A wide-ranging piece of utility legislation passed by the Missouri House in March is now headed to the full Senate for debate.

HB 1746 is sponsored by Rep. Michael O’Donnell (R-St. Louis).  The bill includes a natural gas discount to attract large economic development projects. The Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment Committee approved the bill after a hearing this week.

Similar legislation died during the final days of last year’s legislative session.

A provision in the bill creates a gas rate discount of 25% for four years for high gas users, such as business campuses, schools, prisons, airports and large nursing homes. The discount would help communities attract new businesses and support the expansion of existing businesses when they increase their footprint and become larger consumers.

The bill has widespread support from utility providers and corporations like Facebook and Instagram parent company Meta.

Kevin Gunn, vice president of state and federal regulatory policy for Evergy, said, “This bill will allow for the building of natural gas generation that will allow for industrial consumers to come into the state. This will lead to lower fixed costs for consumers.”

Warren Wood, vice president of regulatory and legislative affairs for Ameren Missouri, said, “There are two reasons we need this bill. One, we need more capacity to reliably serve customers, and two, we’re seeing an unprecedented number of large consumers wanting to come to Missouri.”

The companion bill, SB 740 sponsored by Sen. Mike Cierpiot (R-Lee’s Summit), was passed out of committee in February and is also awaiting action by the full Senate.

Kara Corches, vice president of governmental affairs for the Missouri Chamber, testified in favor of this bill. For more information, contact Corches at kcorches@mochamber.com or call (573) 634-3511.


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