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AmerenUE Files for Natural Gas Rate Reduction; Seeks Quick Approval
AmerenUE has filed a request with the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) for a reduction in the Purchased Gas Adjustment (PGA) on customer bills to reflect lower costs for natural gas from the company's suppliers. In addition, AmerenUE has requested expedited treatment of the request, so it can become effective March 1 for the company's 125,000 Missouri gas customers.

Subject to PSC review and approval, the reduction would range from about 1.6 cents per Ccf (hundred cubic feet) to 15.7 cents per Ccf, depending on location. As a result, AmerenUE estimates residential customers would pay an average of about $1.57 to $16.62 less on their March bills\-a reduction of about 1 percent to 9.5 percent\-assuming normal weather. The estimates vary due to differences in supplier costs and customer usage in the four different geographic regions of Missouri where AmerenUE provides natural gas service.

Based on normal residential usage for March, AmerenUE estimates that under the new adjustment, customers in central and eastern Missouri would pay about $5.21 less than under current rates\-a reduction of about 3.5 percent. For customers in Rolla, Salem and Owensville, the reduction would be about $1.57, or 1 percent. Customers in the southeast Missouri counties of Cape Girardeau, Scott and most of Stoddard would pay about $16.62, or 9.5 percent, less. And for customers in the southeast Missouri counties of Butler and Bollinger, and the Stoddard County community of Advance, the reduction would be about $9.07, or 6.8 percent.

AmerenUE's reduced PGA charge would also apply to commercial and industrial customers, but their usages vary much more widely than for residential customers, making it impractical to give averages.

AmerenUE purchases natural gas from wholesale suppliers located in various gas production areas of the United States. The wholesale price is not regulated, and rises or falls based on market conditions caused by supply and demand. Upon PSC review and approval, AmerenUE passes the cost of natural gas on to customers, dollar for dollar, through the PGA, without any "markup" in price.

AmerenUE officials warn that the natural gas industry in the U.S. is still in a precarious state, and that continued price volatility can be expected, with the potential for price spikes driven by weather conditions, crude oil prices, and production disruptions due to hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. The officials add that AmerenUE continues to take action to dampen price volatility for its customers by using gas storage, price hedging and other financial instruments.

AmerenUE is a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation. The Ameren companies serve 2.3 million electric customers and more than 900,000 natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area of Missouri and Illinois.

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