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Proposed conversation restrictions for Mo. PSC

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, MO – Proposed new rules would place limits on communication between Missouri Public Service Commission members and utility executives.

Commission members and other senior PSC officials would be barred from having conversations with utility officials for 30 days if their companies have pending matters before the commission or matters that may become contested.

Regulators would also have to report most routine contact with third-parties.

St. Louis attorney Mike Downey was hired by the PSC to write the proposed changes.

"The objective is to attempt to come up with an ex parte rule that will provide clearer guidelines for members of the commission, the presiding judges that are handling cases, and also other parties involved as to what can and cannot be discussed with people making decisions," Downey said.

Attorney Paul Boudreaux represents the Missouri Energy Development Association (META), which is comprised of various utility companies. He expressed concern that the proposed restrictions may be too vague and narrow.

"There are a lot of things that go on concerning utility operations on a day-to-day basis which the commission should be kept advised of, beyond just loss of service incidents...there may be billing issues that come up, safety incidents," Boudreaux said.

A vote on the proposed restrictions will be held at a later date.