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Missouri Voters May Opt for Retail Electric Sales Via 2016 Ballot Initiative

October 28, 2015 By Cheryl Kaften

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander announced on October 20 that his office has given its approval for the circulation of an initiative petition to place a proposition on the 2016 ballot that would permit retail electric sales in the state.

The official ballot title for initiative petition 2016-088 reads: Shall Missouri law be amended to allow retail customers of an electrical corporation to purchase electricity from any electric supplier that sells such services to retail customers in the state?

Before any statutory changes can be brought before Missouri voters in the November 2016 election, signatures must be obtained from registered voters equal to 5 percent of the total votes cast in the 2012 governor’s election from six of the state’s eight congressional districts.

If, then, a majority of voters in the Show Me State approve the ballot proposition, “No later than January 1, 2018, all retail customers of an electrical corporation … shall have the right to choose an alternative electric supplier….The Public Service Commission shall issue orders establishing a licensing procedure for all alternative electric suppliers.”

Kander said that the purpose of the new section of the Revised Missouri Statutes, to be known as Section 393.330, “is to ensure that all retail customers of electric power in this state have the choice of electric suppliers, and to encourage competition in this state in the provision of electric supply.”

The fiscal impact to state government is unknown, Kander noted, but would likely include implementation costs and also could comprise litigation costs. The fiscal impact to local governments also is unknown, but could include a loss in tax revenues from electric utility suppliers and potential litigation costs.

Signatures on behalf of all initiative petitions for the 2016 ballot are due to Kander’s office by no later than 5 p.m. on May 8, 2016.

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