A rate hike authorized by the Illinois Commerce Commission on Dec. 13 takes effect this week for Ameren Illinois.
The ICC voted 4-1 to grant Ameren a $57,609,000 “formula” rate hike for delivery service, effective Jan. 1, 2022.
The rate case began last April, when Ameren announced it had requested to increase the utility’s delivery rates by $64,092,000, which would have increased the average residential customer’s monthly bill by about $2.75.
The increase affects delivery charges that all customers pay to have electricity delivered to their homes. Those charges take up about a third to a half of the bill.
Ameren’s delivery rates are set according to the state’s 2011 “Energy Infrastructure and Modernization Act,” or the “smart-grid bill.” That law uses a formula to determine Ameren’s rates annually to cover the costs of system upgrades.
A statewide utility watchdog, Citizens Utility Board, is critical of the increase.
CUB Executive Director David Kolata said consumers also saw recent increases in gas and electricity supply rates as well as a $76 million gas delivery rate hike.
“Ameren customers deserve a break. While the work of improving the electricity rate-setting system is an ongoing process, we are pleased the newly passed Climate & Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) takes a key step forward by replacing the flawed formula rate system. It gives state regulators more authority, provides for greater transparency, allows for broader public participation, and places a greater emphasis on customer priorities like affordability, reliability and sustainability. We will be working with all stakeholders to maximize the potential consumer benefits CEJA was meant to deliver.”
CUB didn’t support the smart-grid legislation, citing too few consumer protections.
This past year, CUB and other consumer and environmental advocates helped pass the Climate & Equitable Jobs Act. CEJA is set to replace the formula rate-setting system beginning in 2024 with a system that gives the ICC more authority and puts more emphasis on sustainability, reliability and affordability.