Ameren gas rates may rise next year, but not without a fight

By Mark Bullion

January 28, 2013 Updated Jan 29, 2013 at 10:51 AM CDT

CENTRAL ILLINOIS -- Ameren Illinois has announced plans for a $50 million dollar hike statewide for the delivery portion of natural gas.

The rate increase would mean about $2 to $4 more added onto your bill.

That's something Illinois' Citizen's Utility Board Spokesman Jim Chilsen disagrees with.

The last increase Ameren requested to the Illinois Commerce Commission was $50 million dollars for natural gas delivery in February 2011.

At that time, the Commission only allowed them to increase their rates by $32 million dollars.

"Unlike other businesses, we can't simply just raise our rates as costs increase, so therefore we're required to file this rate request with the Illinois Commerce Commission and request that increase. There's then that 11 month lag before we're allowed to have those implemented," said Ameren Spokesperson Stacey Shangraw.

"We want a healthy Ameren. The big question is what is a healthy profit versus what is an exorbitant profit? That's the purpose of these 11 month cases; to go over what Ameren is asking for and to decide whether or not it's justified, and the Company has to justify every penny," said Citizen's Utility Board Spokesperson Jim Chilsen.

Ameren says the increase in rates are necessary to maintain and run its services.

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