STL Today –
Ameren Illinois is asking Illinois regulators to approve higher rates for next year as part of the formulaic rate-setting process set up by the state’s 2011 “smart grid” law.
The Illinois subsidiary of St. Louis-based Ameren Corp. is asking for a revenue increase of $69 million, according to its petition filed with the Illinois Commerce Commission. The overall increase next year, though, would be $206 million because of expiring adjustments and new surcharges taking effect.
That will hit an average customer in the wallet for somewhere between $6.37 and $9.55 per month, or 8 percent to 13 percent of their current bill, depending on their location. The utility defines an average customer as a household that uses about 10,000 kilowatt-hours a year.
Illinois’ smart-grid law, passed in 2011 and supported by Ameren and Chicago’s investor-owned utility, Commonwealth Edison, required the state’s utilities to invest millions in the electric grid in exchange for a more formulaic rate process that allows companies to recoup their costs more quickly.
Ameren Illinois plans to eventually invest a total of $625 million. But since the process began, it’s actually seen its rates reduced under the formula — down $48 million after its first filing in 2012.
“Rates have decreased significantly through the formula rate process,” Craig Nelson, the company’s senior vice president of regulatory affairs and financial services, said in written testimony submitted to the commission. “As a result, even with the full impact of this rate increase, most residential customers will be paying less in 2015 than they did in 2011.”
As the investment in the grid ramps up, though, the utility’s rates will probably continue to rise to meet that cost.