Ameren Missouri natural gas rates set for increase this weekend

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JEFFERSON CITY – Natural gas rates for Ameren Missouri customers will increase by nearly 10 percent per hundred cubic feet of natural gas on Saturday.

Customers receiving service in most areas of Missouri will face a five-cent increase and pay at a rate of 56 cents per hundred cubic feet of natural gas. Rates for Ameren Missouri customers in the Rolla service area will increase by seven cents, and they will pay for 68 cents per hundred cubic feet.

Natelle Dietrich, Missouri Public Service Commission Staff Director, said the commission does not regulate the wholesale cost of the gas, but it does regulate the price Ameren passes on to customers.

“Just because it’s an increase, doesn’t mean it’s an increase higher than what they paid a few years ago,” Dietrich said. “It’s just an increase for this time period.”

Dietrich said there is not a pattern that determines when natural gas prices see an increase or decrease.

“It just depends on what is estimated and what the natural gas prices do on the wholesale market,” Dietrich said. “It goes both ways at different times, and just because this is an increase this time doesn’t mean that it’s always an increase.”

Dietrich said the increase applies for customers who use natural gas services for cooking stoves, water heaters and several other gas furnaces. 

Dee Trumble, a St. Louis resident who uses Ameren Missouri services, said she is concerned about how this change will affect her budgeting for groceries and medication.

“It’s such a big increase, and my concern would be being able to afford my bills,” Trumble said. “When you’re retired and you live on a limited income, each little penny is accounted for.”

Trumble said she keeps her home heat around 60 degrees and wears a sweater in winter to avoid higher natural gas bills.

“Budget billing only works so long, and in the long run you have to pay off this big bill,” Trumble said.

The change will affect more than 100,000 natural gas customers who use Ameren Missouri services.