Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois asked the Phelps County Commission for a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity and any other approvals necessary to authorize Ameren to acquire certain electrical facilities owned by the city of Rolla, and to own, operate, maintain and control those facilities as well as adjacent facilities Ameren plans to construct as a part of a proposed network transmission solution.
Ameren also requested expedited treatment of its application and asked the Phelps County Commission’s approval of its application by Feb. 1, 2019.
The Rolla Board of Public Works and Rolla Municipal Utilities (RMU) Management recommended the approval and had completed negotiations with Ameren for the sale of 138kV transmission assets owned and operated by RMU.
The assets include 138kV insulators and conductors, underlying property rights, optical ground wire, along with weathered steel poles, 138kV dead-end structures and bus work at Alfermann Substation.
RMU will grant an easement for Ameren to access, modify and operate this equipment in Alfermann, which was discussed at the Rolla City Council Aug. 6, 2018 meeting. RMU will still manage 34.5kV and 12.47kV lines on the structures and will lease strands of fiber optic cable in the optical ground wire.
RMU retains ownership of bulk transformers, 34kV equipment, and control building, and Ameren will have access in Alfermann Substation to own and operate their equipment.
The Rolla City Council said the asset purchase agreement with Ameren would drive an increase in RMU reliability when combined with Ameren’s other planned improvements in Phelps County. The sale of RMU assets is part of a more massive project benefitting Ameren and Sho-Me-Power that will reduce regulatory and operational risks for RMU, such as damage due to natural or man-made events.
A public hearing for the ordinance authorizing Mayor Louis Magdits to execute an asset purchase agreement with Ameren was previously approved during the final reading of the decree on August 6.
The primary driver of the sale is to improve reliability and strengthen the transmission grid in Phelps County, according to RMU General Manager, Rodney Bourne.
Other benefits include further rate stabilization or reductions and re-investment in local infrastructure.
“This reduces our regulatory and operational risks going forward,” said Bourne.
The Asset Purchase Agreement and ancillary agreements are the culmination of two requests for proposals held over the last two years where there was a competitive bidding process.
The Board of Public Works chose the company they believed had the lowest risks for RMU and the highest degree of project success and completion.
“This governing body has heard this; this is the third time we've heard the details to this in addition to other dates over the past year. The public heard this two weeks ago, and this is a sizeable asset the public owns, so we would like ample opportunity for citizens to voice their opinions,” said Mayor Magdits.
RMU will own and maintain the assets until the financial closing takes place and the assets become part of Ameren’s network facilities, which is currently scheduled for late 2020.
Any proper parties wishing to intervene in the matter are encouraged to file an application no later than Sept. 10, 2018.
The application must be filed with: Secretary, Missouri Public Service Commission, and P.O. Box 360, Jefferson City, Mo., 65102.