Missouri Supreme Court reviews Aquila-Great Plains deal

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 | 4:33 p.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Supreme Court is considering whether state utility regulators properly handled the buyout of Aquila Inc. by Great Plains Energy Inc.

The Public Service Commission approved the deal between the Kansas City-based companies in 2008. That decision has been challenged by the state's utility customer advocate and by several industrial electricity users. The Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday.

The utility advocate says some regulators should have recused themselves because of private meetings with utility executives. The appeal also contends that regulators should have allowed evidence on corporate conduct and gift policies.

The Public Service Commission and utilities say the evidence about gift policies was irrelevant. They also say the meetings were allowed and were designed to be a heads-up for regulators, coming before any request was submitted.

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