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Ameren to increase rates Jan. 1; Citizen Utility Board says hike 'adds to consumers' pain'

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Ameren Illinois announced that it will increase its rates beginning Jan. 1 and was granted a $57.6 million formula rate hike.

The Citizens Utility Board is arguing the hike “adds to consumers' pain in an already difficult year." 

The rate hike is estimated to cost consumers an added $2.50 per month, according to Jim Chilsen, a spokesperson for the Citizens Utility Board. 

On Dec. 13, the rate hike was approved in a 4-1 vote by the Illinois Commerce Commission. 

In a statement regarding the rate increase, Ameren said Illinois customers pay 23% less in energy rates with their company than the national average and they are paying less for energy service than they did five years ago.

Ameren is partially attributing the increase to investments in their infrastructure so they can make the switch to clean energy.

“Governor Pritzker’s Climate and Equitable Job’s Act doubles spending on renewable energy generation,” the release from Ameren said. “Those charges will be added to customer bills in 2022.”

Ameren Illinois plans to construct two larger-scale solar energy generation facilities in 2022. The solar energy will be sold into the wholesale energy market and help reduce energy bills for all Ameren Illinois customers, the release said.

"As the electric grid evolves and more renewable energy sources come on-line, Ameren Illinois needs to continue making strategic investments to ensure that our core energy delivery system can meet the energy needs of our customers,” Richard J. Mark, chairman and president of Ameren Illinois said.

The Citizens Utility Board is strongly opposed to the rate hikes.

“Ameren's Illinois' $57.6 million formula rate hike just adds to consumers' pain in an already difficult year. In addition to this electric delivery rate hike, in 2021 consumers have endured significant increases in gas and electricity supply rates as well as a $76 million gas delivery rate hike. Ameren customers deserve a break,” the board said in a statement.

Chilsen said natural gas and electric bills are especially expensive in the winter and the Citizens Utility Board has resources to help at their website citizensutilityboard.org.

 

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Kallie Cox is a general assignments reporter for The Southern with interests in political science, crime and courts, immigration, and social justice. Kallie is a SIU graduate and joined the newsroom staff in 2021. kallie.cox@thesouthern.com

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