(The Center Square) – More than one million Missourians with electricity provided by Ameren will be paying more for service, but the exact amount isn’t known.
The Missouri Public Service Commission announced it unanimously approved an agreement for Ameren to increase its annual electric revenues by approximately $140 million. The monthly residential customer charge of $9 will remain the same, according to a statement from the commission last week. Ameren must now file documents on how it will set rates and a date for the rates to become effective.
Ameren proposed a $316 million increase when it submitted a request last August. The utility said the rate increase was necessary due to investments in a Smart Energy Plan, the cost of capital, higher depreciation costs and other charges.
The commission stated it was unable to reach an agreement with Ameren on how the rate increase would be distributed among residential, commercial and industrial customers. The commission did determine the revenue increase should be allocated to all its customers on an equal percentage basis.
Ameren customers will be able to continue participation in rate structures where they can save money on utility bills during peak demand times for electricity. Customers pay a lower rate for off-peak hours and a higher rate for on-peak hours. The variable rates are available for customers with a special meter, which approximately two thirds of American customers now have.
Residential customers will pay a new default rate unless they select an optional rate based on “time of use” of consumption. A new “Smart Saver Default” rate will apply to customers without the new meters or customers establishing a new account. The commission ruled the “Smart Saver Default” rate can’t take effect until March 31, 2024, in order to inform customers about the new program.
Ameren also agreed to increase funding to approximately $4.25 million for the “Keeping Current and Keeping Cool” program, which helps those struggling to pay utility bills and help those without air conditioning. The amount seniors can receive in the program will be increased to $50 and prospective participants will be given more time – up to two weeks – to enroll in the program when they have a past due balance.
The utility also agreed to meet with community organizations to discuss methods for legally reducing disconnections of electricity in zip codes with the highest percentage of customers being involuntarily disconnected.