JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) –  Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon wants to double the budget of the office that looks out for residents in utility rate cases.

Nixon’s proposed budget for next year would increase funding for the Office of Public Counsel to $1.4 million.

It also would cut nearly $1.5 million from the Public Service Commission and transfer a dozen of its staff to the public counsel.

The PSC is the state’s utility regulatory agency.

One of the chief duties of the public counsel is to represent residents before the PSC as it decides whether to grant rate increases for electric and natural gas companies.

Nixon says he wants to expand the public counsel’s office to ensure consumers are protected if Ameren Missouri decides to build a second nuclear power plant in Callaway County.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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