The new law treats utility programs that reduce the demand for electricity such as the giveaway of programmable thermostats or energy-efficient light bulbs the same as efforts that increase the supply of electricity, such as the construction of a new power plant. In both cases, utilities will be able to recoup their costs from customers.
Utility officials and some consumer advocates say the new law ultimately should cost people less money.
That's because the energy-savings programs are intended to prevent or delay the need for new power plants that would be more costly for customers to finance.
The law that takes effect August 28 applies to Missouri's three publicly traded utilities AmerenUE, Kansas City Power & Light and The Empire District Electric Co. which serve nearly three-quarters of the state's population.
Nixon was being joined by KCP&L executives for a ceremonial bill signing at a St. Joseph businesses that is working with the utility to install energy efficient lighting. He also was touring a new chilled water plant at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, which has been working with the local engineering firm Burns & McDonnell to improve its energy efficiency.
Burns & McDonnell and KCP&L are some of Nixon's most generous campaign contributors. They each recently gave Nixon $10,000, the two largest donations stemming from a fundraiser in Kansas City. Nixon campaign consultant Ken Morley said there was no correlation between the timing of the donations and the bill signing.