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Hearing over proposed change to Mo.'s CWIP law

Callaway plant in Fulton (company photo)
Callaway plant in Fulton (company photo)

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – A Missouri Senate committee spent about four hours Tuesday afternoon and evening, hearing testimony on a bill that would allow utility companies to charge customers for new power plants while they're under construction.

If the bill becomes law, St. Louis-based AmerenUE may consider building a second nuclear reactor at its plant near Fulton.

The utility's president and CEO, Tom Voss, testified that being allowed to bill customers while building it is the only way they can afford a new reactor.

"Nobody is going to lend us $9 billion to build a nuclear plant...so we've been very clear with the investment community that unless we would get some relief with this Construction Work in Progress bill, we would not build another nuclear plant in Missouri," Voss said.

Ron Sergeant, speaking for Missouri's AARP chapter, testified against the bill.

"Many of our members have told us that it's unfair for them to pay a large portion of the cost for a plant that they may not even be alive to see completed," Sergeant said.

Others testified that it would transfer wealth from consumers to utility companies.

If passed, the bill would amend the Construction Work in Progress (CWIP) law to allow companies to charge customers for the building of nuclear, wind, and other so-called "clean energy" plants.

A vote by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment will be held at a later date.