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Ameren Illinois continues managing the global energy challenge

Tucker Kennedy

By TUCKER KENNEDY
For the Illinois Business Journal

For the better part of a year, consumers and businesses have seen significant increases in the costs of goods and services, from gasoline to groceries.  At the same time, global events (some call it a “Perfect Storm”?) have led to dramatic changes in global energy markets that are being felt here at home. The record increases in the price of electricity and natural gas we’ve experienced downstate starting last year are having a significant impact on our residential and small business customers.

At Ameren Illinois, we know our customers count on us every day for the energy they need, and no one wants to see increases in their energy bills.  That’s why we have been proactive in helping our customers understand why this is happening and, most importantly, what they can do to manage their energy usage and mitigate the price impact. 

If you’re on the fence about energy efficiency for your business, it’s an opportune time to start with a FREE Energy consultation from Ameren Illinois.  Our team of experts will conduct a thorough examination of all phases of your operations to look for changes big and small that can reduce your energy usage and shave dollars off the monthly bill.  Call 1.866.800.0747 or email IllinoisBusinessEE@ameren.com to schedule your consultation.

Through our Small Business Direct Install program (SBDI), you’ll get “watt-saving” strategies and direct installation of energy-efficient lighting and refrigeration products by a registered Program Ally.  Instant incentives help offset the costs of upgrades or projects with discounts at the point of purchase via participating distributors on items like central air conditioners, heat pump water heaters and air-source heat pumps. 

And finally, standard lighting incentives have increased for the remainder of 2022, up to $0.50/watt reduced, and incentives for gas projects now range from $1/therm for Private Sector and $2/therm for Public Sector.  To learn more about these incentives and many other available incentives, visit AmerenIllinoisSavings.com.

Why are energy costs spiking?  

Inflation, an increase in industrial demand following the pandemic, and the conflict in eastern Europe are partly to blame. Another key factor is the transition away from fossil fuel generation without a sufficient supply of renewable energy to fill the gap.

Regarding the energy bill, keep in mind that Ameren Illinois is a delivery-only company.  A state government agency buys the electricity Ameren Illinois delivers to residential and small commercial customers and the costs are passed directly, dollar for dollar with no profit. The supply side of the bill also includes a capacity charge, which is paid to electricity generators to ensure that enough power will be available on days when demand is the highest.  Capacity prices are set according to an annual auction conducted by the federal grid operator called the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO).   

Natural gas is purchased by Ameren Illinois in the summer and stored for use in the winter. Like electricity, the natural gas supply is a pass-through cost that makes up more than one-half of the total energy bill.  Ameren Illinois mitigates the impact of higher natural gas prices through price hedging, and more than 83 percent of the gas Ameren Illinois will deliver this year has already been purchased or hedged, reducing market price volatility.  

We’re committed to helping our customers through these challenging times.  If you or someone you know is facing difficulty paying their energy bill, reach out to us.  Information on assistance is available at AmerenIllinois.com/EnergySelfCare.

Tucker Kennedy is the director of communications and public relations for Ameren Illinois.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This story also appears in the November 2022 print edition of the Illinois Business Journal.)

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