PSC approves Ameren rate increase

Ameren Missouri’s electric rates will be going up soon — probably right after New Year's Day.

By a 3-1 vote late this morning, the Missouri Public Service Commission okayed a $260 million rate increase — a little over two-thirds of the company’s $376 million request filed last February.

The PSC staff said this afternoon that the new rate will add about $10 a month to the "average" consumer's bill — that is, for a customer using 1,110 kilowatt hours of electricity each month.

About $100 million of the increase will cover increased fuel costs, Chairman Kevin Gunn told reporters after the vote.

And another $90 million was for costs resulting from the Missouri Energy Efficiency Act, paying for programs — like more energy efficient lights and appliances — that, ultimately, could save consumers money, Gunn explained.

“(That) $190 million increase is not really discretionary,” Gunn said.

Customers using energy efficiency options likely would see a smaller rate increase, the PSC staff said.

Gunn noted the commission’s order rejected Ameren’s request to raise customers’ monthly fixed costs from $8 to $12 — leaving that part of the customers’ bills the same as they pay now.

The commission’s approval gave Ameren its fifth rate increase in the last six years.

Although Ameren could file a new rate request at any time, Gunn said, “The mechanisms in this order will, hopefully, push a new request back a few years.”

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