Ameren seeks rate increase, customers react negatively -

Ameren seeks rate increase, customers react negatively

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

ST. LOUIS, Mo. ( -- For the sixth time in the past nine years, Ameren Missouri is seeking to increase their rates.

"Every year they put in for a rate increase," said Jerry Jones, a local resident whose budget would be hurt by a higher electricity bill.

The electric company proposed a near 10 percent raise in its rates, which could add an extra ten dollars a month for a typical household's electric bill.

"We recognize any increases can be expensive," Ameren Vice President Warren Wood said.

On Monday, hundreds gathered to hear Wood speak in Sunset Hills. He said a big portion of the rate increase will help to pay for new substations, building a solar farm, addressing clean air issues and keeping the nuclear plant in Callaway County safe and running.

"Clean energy, bottom line, is better for the environment and for our pocketbooks," said Andy Knott of the Sierra Club. Knott claimed that coal and Ameren's reliance on it costs everyone more money. "If [Ameren] moved away from that coal they would be saving money and we would not have as large of a rate in front of us today."

"It's frustrating, but the important piece to not forget in this, is Missouri has some of the cheapest rates in the entire country," said Irl Scissors, executive director of the non-profit group 'Missourians for a Balanced Energy Future.'

Some customers, however, did not see the situation in the same way as Scissors.

"I think greed is ruling Ameren Electric," said Carl Scheibal, an Ameren customer. "I think the Public Service Commission is bowing to Ameren."

Jones reacting similarly, saying, "I'm going to be the guy with a little cup on the corner, just to pay my electric bill."

Ameren allocated $2 million to bill assistance programs to assist those struggling to pay their bills.


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