Ameren electric customers to see first rate cut in over a decade
JEFFERSON CITY - Ameren Missouri electric customers will see just over a 6 percent cut in electric rates beginning Wednesday.
Ameren officials said the $167 million rate decrease is the company's first substantial rate cut in over a decade.
"This is great news for our customers," said Matt Forck, Ameren Missouri's senior director of government affairs. "A typical residential customer for us uses about 1,000 or 1,200 kilowatts, so that savings per year is about $75."
According to Forck, while the savings came from the federal corporate tax cuts passed in December of 2017, lawmakers made sure the benefits of the cuts reached Missourians quickly.
Republican Senator Ed Emery was the main sponsor of Senate Bill 564, which allowed the regulators to give customers the savings of the federal tax cut via lowered electrical rates.
"What the legislation says is that Ameren would give all of the benefit for the entire first year back to rate-payers. They would begin doing that within 90 days after the bill was enacted," he said.
Emery said without the bill, it would have taken almost a year for Missourians to get any kind of rate change.
"Under normal circumstances, any kind of a rate change requires a full blown public hearing and a full rate case, which takes about 11 months," he said.
The bill also allows for what Ameren calls its Smart Energy Plan. Forck said it's a way to give customers "smart, clean and stable energy."
"In addition to the rate savings, there is a one-time rate cut, there is a rate freeze, so no rate increases through at least 2020, and a hard cap on utility rates," he said.
Other parts of the Smart Energy Plan includes investment in renewable energy, grid modernization and economic development.
"In addition it will unlock a grid investment for Ameren Missouri of an additional $1 billion over the next five years," Forck said.
Emery said grid upgrades can help keep a utility company's maintenance costs down which can keep electricity cost increases low.
"They [utility companies] certainly will see a reduction in maintenance costs which will directly impact customers bills."