Ill., and MARION, Ill., Sept. 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Starting today, Ameren Illinois utilities residential electricity customers will begin to receive the benefits from the comprehensive $1 billion rate relief plan.
Credits for certain customers will be applied to bills beginning today. Checks for 935,000 residential electric customers with current bill payments will begin going out in the mail Wednesday and will continue to be mailed for the next 30 days. Over the next month, the Ameren Illinois utilities will send customers checks totaling about $120 million, and apply credits to accounts and issue final payments totaling about $20 million.
In addition, all customers will be able to find out how much they are to receive in credits and/or checks by accessing the company's Web site, http://www.ameren.com/. The availability of checks, credits and the Web site was announced today at a series of press conferences throughout the state. They were conducted by Stan Ogden, vice president of Customer Service and Public Relations; Bill Prebil, vice president of Regional Operations; and Ron Pate, vice president of Regional Operations.
"Our customers have asked for rate relief and we are delivering it," Ogden said. "This across-the-board assistance will help trim the bills to more than one million residential customers. Millions in aid also will be available to eligible low-income customers, senior citizens, small businesses, not-for-profit organizations and customers hit hardest by last winter's electric rate increase."
All current Ameren Illinois utility residential electricity customers will see a reduction in their bills from this rate relief. Over the next four years, $488 million will be targeted to customers in the downstate service territory. About 80 percent of residential electric customers will realize a reduction of 40 percent or more from the 2007 increase in their bill.
All residential customers will receive their initial credits or checks of at least $85 over the next month. These rebates are retroactive to Jan. 2, 2007. Customers with an outstanding balance of less than 60 days will receive a check. All others will receive a credit on their bill. Beginning next month, all rebates will be through credits on bills.
Ameren Illinois residential electricity customers will receive at least $100 for 2007, while the typical residential customer who doesn't heat with electricity will see a credit of about $130 for the year. Those customers' bills increased about $150 and $250, respectively, for the entire year. The typical 2007 credit for customers who heat with electricity will be about $400; that customer's bill increased about $750 this year. And customers who use very large amounts of electricity will see credits of $1,000 or more. Credits will continue in 2008 and 2009 to limit rate increases in those years.
In addition, about 13,000 small business and not-for-profit customers whose 2007 rate increases exceeded 40 percent will receive credits to scale back their increases to 40 percent. Monthly credits will be based on each customer's 2006 usage. Additional credits will limit increases in 2008 and 2009.
Customers can find the amount of rate relief they will receive by visiting the Ameren Web site (http://www.ameren.com/). Select "Ameren Illinois Rate Relief Programs" under "Customer News" and click on the "View My Illinois General assembly Rate Relief Credit" link; customers will need their account number to access their personal information. This site also includes full information about all aspects of the rate relief plan. Customers can also call their utility contact center for this information (AmerenCILCO -- 888.672.5252; AmerenCIPS -- 888.789.2477; AmerenIP -- 800.755.5000).
Other features of the rate relief plan include: -- Late payment charges for residential customers and most small businesses and not-for-profit organizations with current outstanding balances will be waived until Sept. 25, 2007. Qualifying businesses and non-profits must get their power supply -- under rider BGS (basic generation service) -- from the Ameren Illinois utilities and must have a peak demand of less than 400 Kw. -- Millions of dollars in assistance will be directed toward the special needs of eligible low-income customers, senior citizens, small businesses, not-for-profit organizations and customers with unique hardships. -- The utilities will make a strong commitment to energy conservation programs designed to reduce energy consumption through increased energy efficiency. In addition, a certain percentage of the utilities' electricity will come from renewable sources. -- The Ameren Illinois utilities have agreed to enter into contracts for a portion of their power requirements from 2008 to 2012 aimed at minimizing potential fluctuations in future price increases. -- A new state entity, the Illinois Power Agency, will be responsible for designing a system to procure power for the Ameren Illinois utilities beginning in June 2009, subject to approval of the Illinois Commerce Commission. -- The Illinois General Assembly leadership has agreed not to pass legislation that would freeze or reduce electric rates, or impose a tax, special assessment or fee on electricity generators through Aug. 1, 2011.
The rate relief package became law on Aug. 28 when Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed the legislation.
The Ameren Illinois utilities serve 1.2 million electric and more than 800,000 natural gas customers in a 43,700-square-mile area of Illinois.
SOURCE: Ameren Corporation
CONTACT: Peoria, Shelley Epstein, +1-309-677-5489, or Neal Johnson,
+1-309-677-5284, or Metro East, Erica Abbett, +1-314-206-0646, or Decatur,
Natalie Hemmer, +1-217-424-7541, or Springfield, Leigh Morris,
+1-217-535-5228, all of Ameren Corporation
Web site: http://www.ameren.com/