ST. LOUIS, Aug. 30, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Ameren Missouri is donating $5 million over the next three years to provide energy assistance and new programs for its limited income customers to address immediate needs and help them keep bills lower over time.
In 2018, approximately $1 million will be allocated to Ameren Missouri's energy-assistance partners – including United Way and Heat-Up St. Louis and Heat-Up Missouri – to provide immediate energy assistance dollars to customers impacted by this summer's extreme temperatures. The remaining $4 million will be administered by Ameren Missouri's community partners through 2020 for additional energy-assistance programs and long-term sustained energy improvements, such as weatherization support and equipment repair. This Energy Outreach program from Ameren Missouri comes from corporate earnings and is not charged to customers.
"This has been one of the hottest summers in our region's history, and we know we have customers who have struggled," said Michael Moehn, president of Ameren Missouri. "With this program, we are providing immediate relief to our neighbors with limited means. The program is also designed to make a larger, longer-term impact for these customers by giving them access to new and expanded programs to help them better manage their energy usage and reduce their energy costs going forward."
"The unveiling of Ameren Missouri's Energy Outreach Program is a welcome relief for seniors, physically disabled and the working poor in Ameren's service area," said Melanie DiLeo, Board Chairwoman, Heat-Up St. Louis and Heat-Up Missouri. "Many of our state's financially challenged neighbors often wrestle with grocery, housing, medical and utility bills, especially after a bitter winter and scorching summer. Ameren's effort may give them a chance to breathe from their crisis."
Heat-Up's summer program, Cool Down, has received since May more than 78,485 energy assistance online and hotline inquiries from Missouri residents alone.
"We are grateful for Ameren Missouri's ongoing commitment to helping people in the St. Louis region through United Way," said Orv Kimbrough, president and CEO of United Way of Greater St. Louis. "Since the beginning of May, United Way 2-1-1 has received more than 20,000 requests for energy assistance from around the state of Missouri. Through the generosity of local organizations like Ameren Missouri, United Way is able to help thousands of families every year during the extreme heat and cold weather. Additionally, we look forward to furthering this partnership to help connect Ameren Missouri customers to sustainability programs that will help them reduce their energy use now and well into the future via agency partners statewide."
According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the cost of heating or cooling a home is about three times higher for low-income customers than other households. In addition to providing immediate relief with energy-assistance funds, the Ameren program aims to make it possible for low-income customers ineligible for current federal assistance to get the help they need to make improvements to reduce their energy use.
Ameren's statewide $5 million in contributions over a multiyear period include:
To see if they qualify for energy assistance funds, Ameren Missouri customers can:
The $5 million commitment comes just weeks after the 6 percent drop in rates for all Ameren Missouri customers, effective Aug. 1. The rate cut is the first benefit customers received as part of Ameren Missouri's Smart Energy Plan, made possible by legislation passed by the Missouri General Assembly and swift action by the Missouri Public Service Commission.
"Providing secure, reliable and affordable energy to our customers across the state is at the heart of what we do," said Moehn. "We're grateful to our state leaders who supported the rate cut and to our many energy assistance partners who work tirelessly in the community. We're hopeful our donation and efficiency efforts will have a positive, lasting impact on the communities we serve."
To learn more about Ameren's Energy Outreach program and other energy assistance resources, customers can go to AmerenMissouri.com/energyassistance.
Ameren Missouri has been providing electric and gas service for more than 100 years, and the company's electric rates are among the lowest in the nation. Ameren Missouri's mission is to power the quality of life for its 1.2 million electric and 127,000 natural gas customers in central and eastern Missouri. The company's service area covers 64 counties and more than 500 communities, including the greater St. Louis area. For more information, visit Ameren.com/Missouri or follow us on Twitter at @AmerenMissouri or Facebook.com/AmerenMissouri.
SOURCE Ameren Missouri