CUB, Ameren speak out on rate hike

CUB, Ameren speak out on rate hike

There are 104 comments on the KHQA-TV Quincy story from Oct 12, 2006, titled CUB, Ameren speak out on rate hike. In it, KHQA-TV Quincy reports that:

A campaign to fight Ameren's proposed rate hikes is moving across the state. The Citizens Utility Board's "Don't Get Shocked" campaign challenges consumers to contact their state leaders to complain about the ...

Join the discussion below, or Read more at KHQA-TV Quincy.

First Prev
of 6
Next Last
Lets Be Reasonable

Decatur, IL

#1 Oct 24, 2006
Why aren't the actual figures being posted as to what the cost increase per day/for the year will be?

$1 per day x 365 = 365 per year. I believe and I'm sure others will agree that we spend $1 a day on immaterial items (fast food, driving here or there needlessly wasting gas, etc etc).

We all seem to have enjoyed having the "10 year" freeze but let's get real - no other utility company's freeze their rates for 10 years so why all the hooplah. Let's not end up like CA and have blackouts, affected customer service, and in the end we will end up paying the costs and then some. We also have employees that will be out of a job.

There is alot at stake if the rate hike does not go through.
Ameren lineman

Greenville, MI

#2 Oct 26, 2006
I assure you the company is not bluffing about the consequences of a rate freeze. Operating costs have skyrocketed over the last several years even though rates have been frozen for 10 years. How many other buisnesses do you know of that have not been able to raise prices because of increased costs. I know that Amerens profits have increased, but you must remember that the posted profits are for the entire corporation. A large percentage of these profits are from AmerenUE, the regulated Missouri distribution company-not from the Illinois rate payers. The rate freeze will only impact the Illinois distribution companies-AmerenCIPS, AmerenCILCO, and AmerenIP. They will have to pay $60.00-$80.00 per MW, while they are presently paying around $40.00. Do the math. If there is a rate freeze, and the disribution companies are forced to sell electricity for considerably less than what they pay for it, the outcome can only be financial ruin.
I received my layoff notice in the mail Monday. If the rate freeze is passed, I will be layed off immediately and be forced to say goodbye to Illinois, the state that I was born and raised in and go elsewhere to make a living and support my family. Many of my fellow lineman will be doing the same. If there is an ice storm or another wind storm like the ones that went through the state this past summer, I hope that all you people that want a rate freeze take the money that you are going to save and buy a generator, you will be needing it. Ask anyone that's been out of power for day's at a time, it's not a pleasant experience. I have been away from home for weeks at a time and worked hours on end to restore power after natural disasters. I've always felt it was my obligation to do so as a lineman. I don't know if I'll feel that way towards Illinois and Ameren anymore. If a disaster occurs in Illinois after the companies are forced to lay off many of their workers and there are major power outages, call the politicians that voted for a rate freeze. Maybe they'll be able to tell you why you're sitting in the dark with no one around to help restore the power.
Reply to Ameren Lineman

Decatur, IL

#3 Oct 27, 2006
I'm sorry to hear that you like many others received the layoff letter. Just gotta love the politicians that are more worried about how many votes they get vs. addressing the REAL problem we are having with the possible rate hike freeze. They are the ones that created this problem and do not have any idea what the overall consequences will be or just choose to not admit it. The freeze should not happen and what's this with a 3 year extension to the freeze, gesh, they've had 10 years to figure out what to do, and failed and now they think another 3 will help, NO WAY!

Let's pray that the people come to realize how critical this is and say NO to the freeze.
Another Ameren Lineman

United States

#4 Nov 7, 2006
Glad to hear there are some level-headed individuals out there. Most of the feedback you see on these articles is very bad for the utilities. The gov't created this monster 10 years ago to create competition. The initial rate freeze was for 7 years. The current govenor imposed another 3 years in hopes of competition. Now here we are going through this again...another three years (proposed) to see it there is any competition. How many folks out there think that just anybody is going to come build a power plant and start selling electricity for at cut rates?? I don't want to see my rates go, but I didn't want the price of Nat gas or gasoline to go up either. Our rates will still be lower than what most Co-ops are currently paying (and they are subsidized by the gov't). There contracts will be up in the next year or two as well. How much do you think their rates will go up.

If Ameren bonds drop any lower, they will not be able to get credit to purchase power or Nat gas. So, not only will you be without lights, but gas as well. If the gov't steps in and bails the utilities out, your taxes will definitely go up. Which would you rather pay...a few extra dollars a month or tons in taxes (which will probably get raided for some pet project of the govenor).
Raines

Champaign, IL

#5 Nov 8, 2006
Why don't you post some figures on how much they skyrocketed.
While you are at it...tell me why Ameren's generation parent company and all the other companies that won bids to sell wholesale power pushed the reverse power auction? Its because the auction fetches the best price for Ameren's parent, NOT the consumer. Naperville negotiated around 6cents/kwh for wholesale while big old Ameren has to pay their OWN parent 6.5 cents? And I know that coops and munis have wholesale power costs below 4cents/kwh...ya ya ya..I know coops rates overall are slightly higher, but thats because they serve the area Ameren won't.

So I have posted some numbers...I have done the math...I have gone to Ameren's website and deciphered the proposed rates for 2007....and a freeze would NOT bankrupt them. They are threatening layoffs, and they just might do it because they are a lousy company, only because their profits won't be as high as they like and Scott Cisel probably won't get a nice fat bonus if he can't pull this Illinois fleecing off.
Ameren lineman wrote:
I assure you the company is not bluffing about the consequences of a rate freeze. Operating costs have skyrocketed over the last several years even though rates have been frozen for 10 years. How many other buisnesses do you know of that have not been able to raise prices because of increased costs. I know that Amerens profits have increased, but you must remember that the posted profits are for the entire corporation. A large percentage of these profits are from AmerenUE, the regulated Missouri distribution company-not from the Illinois rate payers. The rate freeze will only impact the Illinois distribution companies-AmerenCIPS, AmerenCILCO, and AmerenIP. They will have to pay $60.00-$80.00 per MW, while they are presently paying around $40.00. Do the math. If there is a rate freeze, and the disribution companies are forced to sell electricity for considerably less than what they pay for it, the outcome can only be financial ruin.
I received my layoff notice in the mail Monday. If the rate freeze is passed, I will be layed off immediately and be forced to say goodbye to Illinois, the state that I was born and raised in and go elsewhere to make a living and support my family. Many of my fellow lineman will be doing the same. If there is an ice storm or another wind storm like the ones that went through the state this past summer, I hope that all you people that want a rate freeze take the money that you are going to save and buy a generator, you will be needing it. Ask anyone that's been out of power for day's at a time, it's not a pleasant experience. I have been away from home for weeks at a time and worked hours on end to restore power after natural disasters. I've always felt it was my obligation to do so as a lineman. I don't know if I'll feel that way towards Illinois and Ameren anymore. If a disaster occurs in Illinois after the companies are forced to lay off many of their workers and there are major power outages, call the politicians that voted for a rate freeze. Maybe they'll be able to tell you why you're sitting in the dark with no one around to help restore the power.
Raines

Champaign, IL

#6 Nov 8, 2006
Ameren lineman wrote:
The rate freeze will only impact the Illinois distribution companies-AmerenCIPS, AmerenCILCO, and AmerenIP. They will have to pay $60.00-$80.00 per MW, while they are presently paying around $40.00. Do the math.
I did. Ameren's website says it will charge roughly 1.8 cents/kwh for distribution. The reverse power auction result indicate the power will cost the distribution utilities 6.4 cents/kwh. Total cost of operation: 8.2 cents/kwh. And on top of that, the base fee, utilities charge(whatever you want to call it), will go from(and this is from memory)$4.93 cents to $10.75 cents(something like that..its on the website). So the 200%+ increase in the base charge is just icing on the cake...that wouldn't be affected by a rate freeze.
So you are looking at a total operating cost of 8.2 cents/kwh which is roughly at what the rates are now, or pretty darn close. If this is true, then a rate freeze doesn't make much sense either way.
If it is enacted, I can't believe the crooks like Scott Cisel would layoff workers. They want consumers to cut back, but they themselves wouldn't make the necessary cutbacks that have nothing to do with layoffs.
I don't want linemen to lose their jobs...you guys work your rear-ends off. And I really don't want to see a rate freeze...I'm just getting tired of the lies coming out of the mouths of people like Scott Cisel. He is only looking after his stock price and any bonus that he will get if this rate hike goes through.
Raines

Champaign, IL

#7 Nov 9, 2006
Another Ameren Lineman wrote:
I don't want to see my rates go, but I didn't want the price of Nat gas or gasoline to go up either. Our rates will still be lower than what most Co-ops are currently paying (and they are subsidized by the gov't). There contracts will be up in the next year or two as well. How much do you think their rates will go up.
If Ameren bonds drop any lower, they will not be able to get credit to purchase power or Nat gas. So, not only will you be without lights, but gas as well. If the gov't steps in and bails the utilities out, your taxes will definitely go up. Which would you rather pay...a few extra dollars a month or tons in taxes (which will probably get raided for some pet project of the govenor).
A few extra dollars? Not for me. I am all electric. I have an air-heat pump with electric furnace backup.
My bill in the winter will go from roughly $180 to about over $400. Thats quite a bit more than a few dollars.
Reply to Raines

Decatur, IL

#8 Nov 14, 2006
Nobody wants to see prices go up, but once again our government has "stuck it to us" - gee now there's a suprise. Whether now or later, we are ALL going to pay for it one way or another, it's inevitable. Why is it that the government pulls all this B.S. and then other companies and/or individuals are to blame - they get off way to easy!!
Let's freeze their wages for 10 years, oh wait, 13 years (I had to pick 13 because I can't make a decision in a 10 year period)to make up for what we will all be paying - hey, problem solved, we're not out anything but they are broke hmmmmmmmm. Oh wait, it's the government, that'll never happen!
Chris

Blue Springs, MO

#9 Nov 15, 2006
I hope all of the naysayers on possible bankruptcies of the ILLINOIS OPERATING COMPANIES (not the Ameren Corp) have studied at length the parallels between what is happening now in IL vs. what happened in CA.
It is very easy to bitch and moan about rising utility prices (in IL they have been frozen or decreased over the last 10 YEARS).
The fact of the matter is that the UNION WORKER wages at the Ameren utilities has risen at a level below inflation over the last 13 years. Believe me, I am one of them that gets 3%- 3.5% AT MOST a year (and have taken no wage increase in 3 of those 13 years).
Yes, bitch about the executive compensation and while you are at it go after the oil companies executive compensation and price at the pump too. I have no doubt that the executives at Ameren will make out "like bandits". Because they are ALL bandits at the top (i.e. backdating stock options - and if you don't know what that is, it takes "making out like bandits" to a new level - get pissed about that)
The reason NO alternative supplier has emerged for Illinois residential customers in the last 13 years IS BECAUSE OF THE RATE FREEZE. The reason NO alternative supplier for Illinois Residantial customers is not emerging NOW is because of the legislative uncertainty. The mistakes were made 10 years ago and were not corrected at the appropriate time. A rate freeze at this point changes the playing field that Ameren has been operating under the last 10 years.
As a Missouri ratepayer (in a state that saw the problems with deregulation), I will fight with all of my might to make sure that Missouri ratepayers don't bail out the mistakes of the Illinois legislature 10 years ago and the ones being contemplated today.
Pass the rate freeze AND FREEZE AND SWEAT because the state will have to step in to bail out the Illinois utilities. And ther will be rolling "brownouts". Trust your politician or turst the history of what happended in California.
Simple facts:
1) the law required Ameren regulated utilites to divest their generation capacity
2) the law required power procurement and pass on to the customer at the price paid in the procurement process
3) the law has been effect for 10 yrs or more and noone figured out there might be a problem until the market rate came out much higher than the artificially frozen rates (if the rates came in much lower - noone would be bitching, they would be proclaiming the benefits of the "free market system")
Here is to the hope that sanity reigns in Illinois because here in Missouri, my rates are stable (til next year) and we don't have a bunch of politicians (Dem and Rep) posturing.
P.S. I voted FOR the minimum wage increase in Missouri that ensures that the lower paid worker will always get a raise based upon inflation.
Raines

Lane, IL

#10 Nov 16, 2006
I have already said I don't want to see a rate freeze go into effect giving Ameren more of an excuse to really stick it to us later.

Ameren pushed for the reverse power auction because they knew it would fetch a better price for wholesale power for Ameren's generation company.

Ameren and the other wholesalers will be able to sell wholesale power at 6.4cents/kwh, plus the distribution costs(which are understandable) and raising their base fees.

But someone tell me this, how is it little old Naperville was able to procure power through negotiations at 6cents, and other entities in the state are 4 cents and below?

THAT is what nobody is looking at. The power auction is a joke. It fetches a better price for the wholesaler, NOT the consumer. THAT is the problem I have with everything.

And Ameren didn't "divest their generation capacity", Ameren still owns it, it just isn't under the distribution company. If the parent company does good, the distribution company does good.
Raines

Lane, IL

#11 Nov 16, 2006
And 3 to 3.5% raise a year AT MOST??? What do you know...thats what I get, and I'm not in a union.
LILLIE

Belleville, IL

#12 Nov 25, 2006
Hey raines I also have electric home. The scary part is if these jerks do get there increase and they do away with the rate i have now i will have no home. I won't be able to afford it. So respectively lineman excuse me if I say we need a rate freeze so all the brainiacs can figure this out before all the elder and disabled and unfortunate freeze to death so as the man can have a new car. As far as wasting a dollar a day I only wish I could. Every dime I get is accounted for and counted on. Guess someone needs to comprehend what budget is.
Raines

Champaign, IL

#13 Nov 26, 2006
Well, I understand the linemen make good money...and they ought to.
Yes, the electric heat rate will be taken away afte the first of the year. So instead of getting a 25 to 40% increase, you, I, and the rest of the people who were stupid enough to listen to Ameren will now absorb a 300% increase in the winter.
And these guys are telling us to bite the bullet. We won't be biting it, it will be blowing our brains out.
And if I hear one more person say, "cut back" I'm going to slap em. How much more can people cut back that they already haven't done? They push compact flourescent lighting, which is a good idea, but switching your bulbs out to these will not come NEAR a 50 to $100/month increase...or $300/month increase for me 8 months out of the year.
T in Saint Louis

Saint Louis, MO

#14 Nov 27, 2006
Raines wrote:
<quoted text>
A few extra dollars? Not for me. I am all electric. I have an air-heat pump with electric furnace backup.
My bill in the winter will go from roughly $180 to about over $400. Thats quite a bit more than a few dollars.
WOW! You are all electric and pay only $180 a month in the winter? I pay that much just for gas (Heat) in Saint Louis and still have to pay my electric bill. Only in a State with riduculously low power rates would you build your home with 100% electric.(I know, in rural areas it is not always easy to get natural gas). You Illinois folks really are spoiled. If you don't like what deregulation has done to your state blame the politicians, not Ameren. Ameren did not make the rules; they just followed them. Also, If some of you really did read the Ameren website then you would know that:

-Ameren invested nearly 2 billion dollars in infrastructure to fix your poorly maintained distribution system. Yet you expect them to loose 2.5 million a day in power purchases. If you asked me they saved your bacon. It does not matter how much you pay for electricity if they can't get it to your house.

-Ameren is not allowed to buy all of the power it needs from another Ameren owned company. That's right, everyone pays the same and is required to purchase from other generation companies.

-The idea was that deregulators did not want the transmission line owners to also generate the electricity. Any time you add a middle man the price goes up. Anyone ever studied micro-economics? I think I learned about this in 10th grade.

-If you freeze rates what company is going to open a power generation facility in your state? So..there will still be no increase in generation and therefore no competion which is what all this was about in the first place. If you were starting a business would you set it up in the State where you are sure to make the least amount of money? Yeah-right!

Why don't you guys buy one less soda, lottery ticket, cup of coffee, what ever a day and make sure your state has a future? Without reliable power there will never be economic growth.
Raines

Lane, IL

#15 Nov 27, 2006
Thats the problem...it was a good deal and I took it upon myself to better my situation from gas.
But if I had known Ameren was going to pull the rug out from under the people who installed heat pumps, etc., I would have stuck with gas.
I should have known better than to trust Ameren.
I wish it could still be CIPS. Ameren is nothing but a bunch of snakes.
And yes, I can blame Ameren. It was CIPS that warned against dereg. Ameren's generation company likes dereg just fine because now they can peddle their high priced power. Ameren isn't just following the rules..they helped shape them. Not the distribution side of the business mind you, but the parent company.
And Ameren didn't INVEST anything for distribution. That money comes from the ratepayers. You make it sound like Ameren did it out of the kindness of their heart.
Why don't you also show us where they will lose 2.5 million a day. I have done the math...no such thing will happen.

LOL...buy one less soda...sorry, the increase is much more than that a day, especially for us on electric heat. How about I sell my car to pay my electric bill?

And there won't be economic growth in Illinois anymore. Business and industry will now move out of state...where Ameren is not.
Raines

Lane, IL

#16 Nov 27, 2006
And a question for you T in Saint Louis. I have posed this question, but nobody seems to want to answer it.

So here it is again. How is it that the best price Ameren can get for wholesale power from this lousy reverse auction is $64/Mwh when little old Naperville and other distribution entities in the state negotiate much better prices?
Now Naperville got roughly $60/Mwh, not much better, but better, and other munis and coops can fetch $40/Mwh and sometimes better?

nobody seems to want to touch that little fact, much less do the research for themselves.
T in Saint Louis

Saint Louis, MO

#17 Nov 28, 2006
Raines wrote:
I should have known better than to trust Ameren.
I wish it could still be CIPS. Ameren is nothing but a bunch of snakes.
And yes, I can blame Ameren. It was CIPS that warned against dereg. Ameren's generation company likes dereg just fine because now they can peddle their high priced power. A electric bill?
And there won't be economic growth in Illinois anymore. Business and industry will now move out of state...where Ameren is not.
Ummm....Ameren did not buy companies in Illinois until after Deregulation was already set in place so obviously they did not shape it. If Ameren had not been the purchaser then you would be complaining about some other company making too much money.<br><br>

Why do you still want Cips? They were a failing company and were not investing in or maintaining the infrastructure as I mentioned in my original post. Do you think Ameren invested 1.9 billion in distribuion capability for the fun of it? No, they did it because it needed to be done. If Ameren were really such money grubbers they would have kept their 1.9 billion and charged you more for electricity.<br><br >
I don't think you are making the distintion between those who produce electricity and those who deliver it. Ameren owns very little generation capacity in Illinois which is exactly what the regulators wanted. Now they have to purchase it on the open market. Ameren simply wants you to pay what they pay for electricity with NO MARK UP. Of course they will make a profit on the distribution side of the business. They took the risk of bailing out the failing power companies in Illinois and they should see some reward for taking this risk.<br><br>
And no, Ameren cannot just use generation capacity in Missouri to send to Illinois. That would be illegal. Besides, we pay higher rates over here and you would not want to pay for it anyway...
T in Saint Louis

Saint Louis, MO

#18 Nov 28, 2006
Raines wrote:
And a question for you T in Saint Louis. I have posed this question, but nobody seems to want to answer it.
So here it is again. How is it that the best price Ameren can get for wholesale power from this lousy reverse auction is $64/Mwh when little old Naperville and other distribution entities in the state negotiate much better prices?
Now Naperville got roughly $60/Mwh, not much better, but better, and other munis and coops can fetch $40/Mwh and sometimes better?
nobody seems to want to touch that little fact, much less do the research for themselves.
This first round auction was based upon speculation. As more auctions occur the prices should go down. I think it was stupid that the auction was allowed to set the prices for the next three years but that was not Ameren's fault. Once again, thank your Illinois politicians for a complete lack of forsight.
Raines

Lane, IL

#19 Nov 28, 2006
Thats the main issue I have with all of this..the auction process.

And yes, it is Ameren's fault because it was their suggestion that power be procured this way, Scott Cisel was the one saying that this is the best way to go...why? Because Ameren's generation company can get a better price for power...not a better price for consumers who have NO CHOICE. Don't think Scott Cisel wasn't looking out for the parent company by suggesting that the power auction was the way to go. I wonder how much of a bonus he got for pushing this through and being the mouthpiece for Ameren. Since the price was obviously higher than what other entities negotiated power for, Ameren will bet getting more than its worth and they will make out like bandits. Their stockholders need to thank us since we will be the ones bent over taking it.
Raines

Lane, IL

#20 Nov 28, 2006
Why would I want CIPS? CIPS was efficient, they did the job well. And you want to prove to me that CIPS didn't invest in infastructure. They had no problems, prices were always good, and you knew where you stood with them. Utilities in Illinois did the job just fine until Ameren decided to buy them out. The only utility that needed saving was CILCO. But we have to pay for that mismanagement as well too. Cisel said that is another reason rates will go up because Ameren bailed them out. Why as a CIPS customer am I responsible for CILCO?
Are you an Ameren spokesperson or an employee? It has to be either one for you to be defending them like this.

Tell me when this thread is updated:

Subscribe Now Add to my Tracker
First Prev
of 6
Next Last

Add your comments below

Characters left: 4000

Please note by submitting this form you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

Ameren Discussions

Title Updated Last By Comments
News 3 injured in accident at central Mo. nuclear plant (Apr '13) Apr '13 kevan 1
News Ameren asks judge to toss lawsuit over boy who ... (Jun '07) Dec '12 cousin 2
News Massive Blackout Continues in St. Louis (Jul '06) Feb '12 homeboy 3
News Ameren donates $50,000 to Heat-Up St. Louis (Nov '11) Nov '11 ROBERT 1
Lake properties (Oct '11) Oct '11 Carol Fenton 1
News One Dead In Motorcycle Accident In North St. Louis (Sep '10) Sep '10 Big J 45
News Ameren UE Promises $5 Million in Energy Assistance (Aug '10) Aug '10 angie 8
More from around the web