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Hearing on Ameren Rate Hike Draws Large Crowd

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - The Missouri Public Service Commission will hold the fourth of four meetings on a proposed Ameren rate hike this evening.

This afternoon, a packed crowd of more than 150 ratepayers, most of whom are senior citizens on fixed incomes, took part in a question-and-answer session at a South County Holiday Inn.

“We have people who died this summer from heat exhaustion because they didn’t want to use their air conditioning units because they couldn’t afford their utility bills,” resident Mary Sorg said. “Something’s wrong with the system when it gets to be like that.”

Ameren Missouri has requested a $376 million rate hike. For ratepayers, that means an addition $14 per month.

“It doesn’t sit very well with me,” said another man. “Being on a fixed income, that $14 could be the difference between being able to buy food, pay for any medicine I may need.”

It was the job of Ameren vice president of business planning Lynn Barnes to sooth the crowd.

“Ameren has continually invested in our infrastructure,” Barnes said. “Our assets are getting older and, in order to provide safe and reliable power for our customers, we have to make investments.”

“We have invested over $700 million in our system that’s not currently included in our rates. With those costs, and fuel costs are increasing, we need to increase our rates.”

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