Residents Voice Concerns Over Electric Rate Hikes

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MEXICO - Ameren Missouri customers had a chance to raise questions and voice concerns about rate hikes at an open public hearing Thursday afternoon.

About 75 residents came out to the Presser Performing Arts Center in Mexico to raise concerns over a case Ameren filed in February of 2012, proposing to raise electric rates 14 percent, or about 14 dollars a month. Many residents asked why a smaller increase, such as 5 percent, could not be set into place and also raised complaints about rising rates year-after-year.

Ameren Missouri's Vice-President of Legislative Affairs Warren Wood said he understands the consumers' concerns, but also encourages them to consider energy-saving initiatives that Ameren Missouri has put into action. "We understand that there is never really a good time to raise rates, but there are many energy-saving initiatives and programs our residents can enter into that can help them cut costs," Wood said.

But Robert Marty, a Mexico resident, said one of his major concerns in the rate hikes is the transmission of electricity in Missouri. "Apparently, as electricity is transmitted, it loses about 10 percent of its power. But the University of Missouri says 30 percent. Therefore, you would think that there would be some kind of rationalization as to where we are sending stuff," Marty said.

Thursday's hearing was supposed to be held at the Mexico Courthouse, but due to a largely anticipated turnout, Missouri Public Service Commission moved the hearing to the performing arts center.

Formal evidentary hearings in the case will take place between September 24th and October 12th. Ameren Missouri representatives said no action will be taken until January if the proposal goes through.

Another public hearing was held in Kirsksville early Thursday evening. If you couldn't attend these hearings and would like your voice to be heard, you can call (573) 751-4857 or send in a written comment to the Missouri Public Service Commission, P.O. Box 360, Jefferson City, MO 65102. Comments can also be submitted electronically to