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Ameren Illinois petitions Illinois Commerce Commission to protect downstate customers from unnecessary cost increases

COLLINSVILLE, Ill., Sept. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Ameren Illinois has asked the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) to comply with an important consumer safeguard which was designed to prevent energy developers from imposing unfair and burdensome cost increases on Downstate utility customers.

Special interests are trying to pressure the ICC into reversing a decision that defines the timeline for rooftop solar credits to be reduced for new net metering customers once solar penetration has reached a certain threshold. These subsidies are paid for by customers who are not benefitting from the program.

Under a 2016 law, a portion of the credit intended to kickstart solar development is expected to expire soon.  The credit consists of delivery service and energy supply components.  The law established a consumer safeguard which eliminates the delivery portion of the credit once the total amount of electricity generated from solar meets or exceeds 5% of the Ameren Illinois peak demand.  In today's response to the ICC, Ameren Illinois urges the ICC to follow the law and begin crediting new solar customers for excess generation equal to the amount and value provided to the grid.

"This is an issue of customer fairness," said Richard J. Mark, Chairman & President, Ameren Illinois.  "We are very supportive of our customers and renewable energy. There is a reason why the law includes safeguards to protect customers who don't have the luxury of installing expensive solar equipment, particularly those in low income or disadvantaged areas."

While many of these special interests are making erroneous claims about the law, they were also part of the negotiations of the law in 2016 and were party to subsequent regulatory proceedings filed by Ameren Illinois and approved by the ICC.       

Mark noted that the same groups that are asking the ICC to ignore the net metering law are the same organizations that have introduced an energy plan that will cost Downstate residential customers an additional $1.8 billion over ten years.  

"This is another example of Chicago-based special interest groups and out-of-state developers trying to take advantage of downstate customers," he said. 

Currently, only 3,000 of Ameren Illinois' 1.2 million electric customers have rooftop solar facilities and the 5% threshold provision will not affect them.  New customers who install rooftop generation will continue to be credited for the excess energy at a rate equal to the supply rate.

"We're encouraging the Commission to follow the law," Mark said. "The costs of solar energy development should not be borne by those customers who can least afford it."

Ameren Illinois has proposed a transparent and achievable plan that will provide customers with the benefits of solar energy and move Illinois closer to reaching its goal of 100% clean energy by 2050.  The Downstate Clean Energy Affordability Act increases the production of lower-cost solar energy while delivering environmental and economic development benefits for customers across central and southern Illinois. The Downstate Clean Energy Affordability Act is an affordable plan tailored to the needs and strengths of our downstate communities.

About Ameren Illinois 
Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and more than 800,000 natural gas customers in Illinois. Our mission is to power the quality of life. Our service territory covers more than 1,200 communities and 43,700 square miles. For more information, visit AmerenIllinois.com, find us on Twitter @AmerenIllinois or Facebook.

SOURCE Ameren Illinois

For further information: Tucker Kennedy, 309-677-5489, tkennedy3@ameren.com, Marcelyn Love 217-381-2241 mlove@ameren.com