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Jetton supports bill to require credits for customers with power outages

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – Legislation that would crack down on St. Louis-based Ameren and other electric companies for long power outages is getting praise from the leader of the Missouri House.

House Speaker Rod Jetton says in his opinion, Ameren's priorities have not been on being prepared for weather-related power outages: "You can understand if it happens once, it happens," Jetton said Thursday. "But after the first time, you would've thought they would've restructured and organize."

"I live in an area where we have electric co-ops, and we have ice storms, and we have problems," added Jetton. "And we never have had the kind of power outages for the length of time that Ameren's experienced up in St. Louis, and I live out in the middle of nowhere."

But Chuck Caisley, President of the Missouri Energy Development Association, defended Ameren's response time. He says it's improved after every winter storm so far this season.

The House version of the legislation would require power companies to give credits to customers who experience outages of at least 48 hours. The Senate version is more harsh, requiring credits for customers who lose power for more than four hours in a monthly billing cycle.