Mt. Vernon Register-News

June 11, 2009

Storms among Ameren’s reasons for rate request


DECATUR (AP) — Ameren officials say storm damage, rising interest rates and customers’ bad debts are the reasons the utility has asked for a $226 million rate increase.

Ameren executive Ron Pate says line repairs after recent storms cost $25 million. He says Ameren paid $150 million in interest last year to borrow money to operate. And bad debts last year totaled $49 million.

Pate says Ameren cut other costs and froze executive salaries before requesting the rate increase.

But David Kolata, executive director of the Citizens Utility Board consumer watchdog group, says if people can’t pay their bills raising rates doesn’t make sense.

The rate increase request was filed last week with the Illinois Commerce Commission.

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Information from: Herald & Review, http://www.herald-review.com