Utility watchdog group says Ameren doesn't need rate hike - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Utility watchdog group says Ameren doesn't need rate hike

A utility watchdog group in Illinois is asking customers to speak out against Ameren's proposed rate hike. Ameren is asking state regulators for a $90 million dollar rate hike. Opponents say if approved, Ameren customers will have to pay more to keep their lights on.

Laurie Kaftan just finished some shopping. She says when it comes to money, she's on a fixed income and dollars are tight.

"They keep hiking us and how we supposed to pay it," Kaftan said.  

Back in 2008 Ameren Illinois received a rate hike. That's the company that distributes your electricity and natural gas.

Bryan McDaniel with the Citizens Utility Board argues the company doesn't need another 90 million dollars.

"The disruption company made 200 million dollars in profits this last year, and their parent company Ameren generation, which owns the generators as well as the disruption company made 656 million dollars last year," McDaniel said. "So this are not companies that are hurting finically."

McDaniel says the rate is only to help the company's bottom line. He adds means more money out of customer's pocketbooks. 

"It depends on your usage but it's going to be a $60 to $100 a year increase," McDaniel said.

But Jackie Voiles, Director of Regulatory Affairs for Ameren Illinois, disagrees.  Ameren says since the last rate hike, the company has taken several steps to cut costs.

"We have just done all that we can, and in order to continue to maintain the system and provide the reliable service that our customers expect day in and day out," Voiles said. " We need this additional money."

Voiles said the company's costs are increasing and it needs to recover the cost for day to day operation.

"We need to do routine maintenance on our deliver system that's both on the electric side of the business as well as the natural gas side of the business," Voiles said.  

But Kaftan says even if the rate increase is spread out over the year, her fixed income stays the same.

"That's still $10, $20 extra a month, still we need to put medicines and food and everything else we need to have," Kaftan said.

Ameren says if the rate hike is approved the increase to your bill is not set rather it will depend on usage. A public hearing on the proposed rate hike is set for 1 p.m. in Springfield.  

Copyright 2011 KFVS. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly