Ameren Missouri electric customers may see higher bills in 2017

Ameren Missouri electric customers...

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - The Missouri Public Service Commission held a public hearing Wednesday in Jefferson City for a proposed rate increase for Ameren Missouri electric customers.

It was the third of 13 public hearings across the state.

If the proposal passes, residential customers would pay about $99 more a year, or about $8 more a month.

"In my instance, it would almost be the equivalent of whole 'nother month's utility bill," Cole County resident Thomas Huber said.

The change would increase Ameren Missouri revenues by about $206.4 million.

Ameren serves more than 1.2 million electric customers across the state of Missouri, including more than 29,000 customers in Cole County alone.

The company also serves about 4,000 customers in Boone County.

Some customers who testified Wednesday said the proposed rate increase is too much for those living on a fixed income.

"I don't know anybody that's getting almost an 8 percent increase in their wages and their Social Security benefits, their retirement benefits," Huber said. "It's just simply excessive."

But Ameren said its rates are the lowest of all the investor-owned utilities in the state and are 14 percent below the Midwest average.

The $206.4 million is needed to continue serving customers with high quality service, according to Warren Wood with Ameren Missouri.

"It's been two years since our last regulatory rate review case," Wood said. "In that time, we've invested nearly $1.4 billion to provide safe, clean, dependable energy to customers. We're seeing some good information on improvements in reliability, some better storm hardening on the system, some better convenience-control choices for customers."

The rate change will take effect around the end of May if the proposal is approved, according to Wood.

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