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CUB, AARP Seek Reduction in Ameren Illinois Rate Hike Request

Brian Kelly
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EAST ST. LOUIS, Il, (KMOX)-There’s a call today for the Illinois Commerce Commission not only to reject Ameren, Illinois’ request for a $90 million rate increase, but to order a $2.5 million refund.

 It comes from the Citizens Utility Board, AARP and East St. Louis State Representative Eddie Lee Jackson.

CUB Senior Analyst Bryan McDaniels says the big hit comes from the rate of return Ameren Illinois is seeking, “They’re asking for about 11%, you knock that down to 8 or 9% that knocks about $50 -$60 million off the request right there.

“We also feel like they’ve inflated their operation and maintenance expenses. They have a 20% increase in their operation and maintenance budget built-in for this upcoming year. We don’t feel that’s what they need to do to keep the grid in working order.”

Ameren Illinois spokesman Leigh Morris says certain key drivers are behind the rate case, including operating costs, “(We have) 45,500 circuit miles of electric distribution lines of which about 38,007 of those miles are above ground the rest of it is underground. That’s a lot of system that has to be maintained upgraded as necessary. Parts of it need to be replaced. In addition to poles and wires, there’s substations, transformers and switches, on and on it goes.

Morris says there’s also higher taxes,  “Illinois  did have an income tax increase and like every other company doing business in the state along with residents, that’s affected us as well.”

Morris admits there’s no good time to raise rates. CUB, AARP and Rep. Jackson are encouraging customers to contact the ICC and protest the increase. 

The ICC is scheduled to issue its ruling in January.

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