SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Commerce Commission Wednesday approved new natural gas delivery rates and electric distribution rates for Ameren Illinois customers.
According to an Ameren Illinois spokesman, starting in January the changes will add $2 to $6 per month to residential natural gas bills and $2 to $7 per month to residential electric bills.
Ameren Illinois’ new natural gas rates are expected to generate approximately $45 million in new annual revenue, a 12.44 percent increase over current revenue. The company initially requested an annual increase of approximately $55 million. Ameren natural gas delivery rates were last adjusted Jan. 1, 2014. For a complete history of Ameren Illinois’ gas rate adjustments, go to www.icc.illinois.gov/naturalgas/iccreports/ and click “Rate Case History Report.”
The new electric distribution rates were calculated from an overall increase in annual revenue of approximately $106 million, which resulted in an increase in electric delivery rates of 11.44 percent. Ameren initially proposed an increase of more than $110 million, but adjustments were made by the commission to the company’s advertising expense, employee recognition expense and cash working capital. For a complete history of electrical rate adjustments, go to www.icc.illinois.gov/electricity/iccreports/ and click “Rate Case History Report.”
Ameren Illinois statement
Projects to boost the reliability of Ameren Illinois’ natural gas and electric infrastructure are reducing outages, creating new jobs and saving utility customers more than $47 million per year on average. Today (Dec. 9), the Illinois Commerce Commission approved delivery rates that will enable the company to continue moving the plan forward in 2016.
Since the modernization program began in 2012, electric system projects such as the installation of storm-hardened utility poles, outage detection technology, and stronger power lines have resulted in a 17 percent improvement in reliability. When customers do experience an outage, Ameren Illinois is restoring power 18 percent faster on average than in previous years. Natural gas improvements include replacing aging transmission and distribution pipes with corrosion-resistant material and upgrading capacity. More than 550 employees and an additional 1,507 contract workers have been hired to help implement the improvements to the electric and natural gas infrastructure in Illinois.
“By all measures, the electric and natural gas modernization plans are working for our customers and Illinois,” said Craig Nelson, senior vice president of regulatory and financial services for Ameren Illinois. “Reliability is up, outages are down and good-paying jobs are being created at a time when our state sorely needs them.”
The ICC sets delivery rates to enable utilities to recover the costs of capital used for infrastructure improvements, and to recover the actual costs of maintaining the distribution system that delivers natural gas and electricity to homes and businesses. As part of this open and transparent process, the ICC undertakes an eight- to ten-month review to validate that these costs are reasonable, prudent and provide customer benefits.
Delivery service rates make up the smaller portion of a customer bill. Supply cost, which includes energy and capacity, makes up the largest portion and is not part of the Ameren Illinois delivery rate. Both electric and gas supply costs are passed directly to customers without mark-up.
The average rate for Ameren Illinois residential electric customers is expected to remain below the national average. Natural gas customers are expected to benefit from lower gas supply costs this heating season, which are down 20 percent from last year.
Recognizing that a rate adjustment can affect customers differently, Ameren Illinois offers programs such as Budget Billing to help customers level out their monthly payments, and energy efficiency programs to help customers manage their energy usage and save money.
Information on energy saving practices and budget billing strategies are available at www.AmerenIllinois.com/programs. Information about improvements Ameren Illinois is making to the electric grid and natural gas distribution system is available at www.AmerenIllinois.com/forward.