Ryan Davisson
As the debate over Missouri's Construction Work in Progress (CWIP) law heats up, senators are spending copious amounts of time debating this important issue. Senate Bill 228, which would rescind the existing anti-CWIP law, has gone back to the drawing board after a rigorous and visceral debate. Some think the bill should be voted on by the people, akin to the original CWIP law's conception during the '70s.

Signs of compromise are now taking place; an amendment passed that allows exemptions for CWIP rate hikes to those older than 65, disabled, and who earn less than $40,000 a year. One opponent of the bill was able to pass an amendment requiring that "customers get 100 percent of any profits Ameren would realize if it ever sold the permit to build the nuclear plant." Another proposed amendment includes a cap on the percentage increase that utility customers would pay.

The economics of this situation seems simplistic, in my opinion. There is a growing demand for energy, and neither wind nor solar power are technologically advanced enough to fulfill this demand. Furthermore, it seems logical that those who will benefit by consuming cleaner sustainable energy should be those who assume the cost. It is possible that, in another economic climate, Ameren could have found enough investors with deep pockets to finance this gargantuan investment without needing CWIP funding, but this is not the case. The consumers who need the product must therefore bear the costs if the plant is to be constructed.

More on this topic from the Show-me Institute:

Policy Pulse: Legislation Aims to Allow CWIP Billing By Missouri Utilities

Op-ed by David Stokes: Kick Anti-Cwip Laws to the Curb

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Ryan Davisson