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Record Cold Temps Cause 20 Percent Increase in Winter Usage Over Last Year
Ameren Illinois offers options for managing heating expenses

Ameren Illinois’ purchasing strategies have kept gas supply prices lower than last year, but increased energy usage resulting from extreme cold temperatures may mean higher winter heating bills for Ameren Illinois customers.

“This has been a particularly brutal winter for our customers,” said Stan Ogden, vice president, Customer Service, noting that the Illinois State Climatologic office reported December through February temperatures were the fourth coldest on record. “While most customers will see higher bills simply because they are trying to keep warm, there are steps they can take to manage their monthly energy bills and spread their costs over a longer period.”

Because Ameren Illinois bought natural gas when prices were low and stored it for use this winter, natural gas customers are paying approximately 5 percent less than the same time last year. Ameren Illinois purchases its natural gas supplies from various producers and delivers to its customers without mark-up.   However, because of the extreme cold temperatures this heating season, gas usage is up approximately 20 percent, which more than offsets the lower supply costs.

To help ease the burden caused by higher energy use, Ogden encourages Ameren Illinois customers to enroll in Budget Billing, a plan that allows residential customers to pay the same amount each month.

“Budget Billing is an easy way to level payments and avoid the bigger monthly bills,” said Ogden. Under the payment plan, customer bills are calculated using the average monthly bill amount based on the last 12 months. Customers can enroll in Budget Billing at any time by calling 800-755-5000 or signing up at AmerenIllinois.com. There is no additional charge to enroll or participate in this program.

Other resources include:

  • Warm Neighbors Cool Friends (WNCF), a year-round heating and cooling assistance program to help those who generally do not qualify for financial assistance from other government or non-profit programs. Eligible households can receive up to $350 for this heating season. The WNCF weatherization program also helps customers reduce energy usage by installing insulation, air sealing, caulking and replacing of heating units.  More at www.warmneighborscoolfriends.org.
  • Energy Efficiency Programs.  Ameren Illinois offers programs that customers can utilize to help reduce energy usage and save money.  For a limited time, Ameren Illinois will deliver Home Performance with Energy Star Audits for only $25.00.  An energy audit helps customers pinpoint the specific steps they can take to lower their home heating and cooling costs.  Rebates and incentives are available to help customers implement changes recommended from the audit. Permanent improvements in the energy efficiency of the home will result in ongoing savings. More information is available at www.actonenergy.com.

"We are concerned about our customers and are committed to do what we can to help them through this period," said Ogden.  "Customers are encouraged to contact us soon so we can work together to find solutions to the financial strain this unrelenting cold weather has put on families."

About Ameren Illinois
Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and 806,000 natural gas customers in downstate Illinois, and 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.  Follow us on Twitter @AmerenIllinois and Facebook.

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