There are a lot of discussions taking place right now in Jefferson City about Missouri's energy future. As legislators consider the best path forward, it's critical they have all the facts. For starters, it's important to understand the electric power industry's impact on the U.S. economy. The industry supports more than 7 million jobs across the country. That's one out of every 20 jobs. The industry also contributes $880 billion annually, or approximately 5 percent, to America's GDP. In Missouri, the industry directly employs approximately 10,000 people and supports thousands of additional jobs indirectly through its investments and supply chain.
Through its investment and the hard work of its employees, the industry constantly is innovating and making advancements to provide customers with increasingly clean, safe, resilient, and reliable energy to power their everyday lives. This is happening through investments of more than $100 billion each year, making the electric power industry the most capital-intensive in the country.
These ongoing investments are helping to build a smarter, cleaner, stronger, and more resilient energy grid. Given how much we all rely on the grid to power our homes and businesses, it is important that the grid be enhanced to keep up with the pace of technology. This includes things like paving the way for cleaner energy sources, increasing cybersecurity protections, and giving customers greater understanding and control over their energy bills.
Today, new technologies and innovations are helping to drive efficiencies, improve sustainability, spur economic development, and enhance quality of life for citizens in many cities and communities in Missouri and across the country. Often, these projects are in complete alignment with our industry's core skill set of using technology effectively to deliver reliable and affordable electricity to a variety of customers. Large or small, the takeaway of these projects is the same -- a smart grid is the foundational piece in building a smart community.
That's why it's critical that the Missouri House of Representatives passes SB 564, which would create jobs, reduce customers' energy bills, and provide more than $1 billion in investment in Missouri's energy grid. According to a study recently completed by Accenture, the passage of SB 564 also is projected to create an additional 3,300 direct and indirect energy jobs in the state through the investments being made to modernize Missouri's energy grid.
In addition to providing a vehicle for energy grid investment, SB 564 will save customers money. The bill will allow for electric companies in Missouri to implement some of the reforms included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law last year. Some Missouri electric companies already have committed to passing this tax savings on to customers. For example, Ameren Missouri plans to pass a one-time, $100 million tax cut savings on to its customers 90-days after SB 564 becomes law. Additionally, SB 564 will reduce energy costs for Ameren customers by cutting rates and by creating a rate cap on any future energy increases.
I applaud the Missouri Senate's passage of SB 564 and encourage the House to do the same. The benefits to customers and the economy are too important not to swiftly make this legislation law.
The Honorable Philip D. Moeller is executive vice president, Business Operations Group and Regulatory Affairs at the Edison Electric Institute (EEI).
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19 December 2018
20 December 2018