WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Ameren Illinois Told to Cut Rates

Sep 22, 2012

A consumer watchdog group approves of the Illinois Commerce Commission’s decision to order a $48 million electric delivery rate cut for Ameren customers.

But Citizens Utility Board spokesman Jim Chilsen says the utility company has yet to improve on its plan for upgrading the power grid as part of the ‘smart-grid’ legislation approved by Illinois lawmakers last year.  Ameren filed its proposal for new rates after the measure passed.

“I think that’s our role now as a consumer watchdog is making sure that the company doesn’t charge us inflated rates, and also making sure that the company follows up on its promise, and actually builds a smarter grid that’s going to benefit consumers," Chilsen said.  

"The key question now is: will consumers be slapped with the bill without getting any benefit?”

The ICC rejected Ameren’s smart-grid plan this summer. It said the plan lacked detail.  CUB is recommending a workshop process for improving that plan.

The rate cut was approved by the ICC on a 3-to-2 vote. It will be in effect only from October through December. January rates will be decided in annual "reconciliation" cases.  

Ameren spokesman Leigh Morris said the utility is disappointed in the ICC’s ruling. He said the commission failed to follow the law when it comes to setting up revenue requirements.  

The utility will request a re-hearing.

Thanks to Jeff Bossert of Illinois Public Radio