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Ameren Illinois Utilities Ask ICC to Approve Program Administrator for Real Time Pricing Program Allowing Participants to Pay Hourly Price for Electricity
Today, the Ameren Illinois utilities announced they have filed a request with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), seeking approval of the Community Energy Cooperative (CEC) to serve as the program administrator for their Price Response Program (PRP), which is a form of Real Time Pricing (RTP), an option that may help residential electricity customers better manage their energy bills.

The Community Energy Cooperative is a non-profit membership organization based in Chicago. In 2003, the CEC launched the nation's first large-scale residential electricity pricing program to use hourly, market-based electricity prices.

With PRP/RTP, customers will pay an hourly price for electricity rather than a fixed price. This price may vary from hour to hour. PRP/RTP program participants will be provided with daily price forecasts that allow them to make informed decisions about the ways they use electricity. With this information, PRP/RTP program participants may be able to manage what they pay for electricity over the course of time.

"The CEC has operated a pilot RTP program in Northern Illinois for the past four years. Known as the Energy-Smart Pricing Plan, this pilot program has enabled participants to better manage their energy bills and realize savings over fixed rates," according to CEC General Manager Anne Evens.

If approved as the Ameren Illinois utilities' program administrator, the CEC will provide program participants with services to help them manage their energy budgets. The CEC plans to notify participants in advance by telephone or e-mail when high hourly prices are expected to occur and provide educational materials, personalized updates and online tools to assist customers.

In its filing, the Ameren Illinois utilities have asked the ICC for "expeditious approval" so the CEC can begin the implementation of PRP/RTP as soon as possible.

After the ICC approves a program administrator, Ameren Illinois utility residential customers will be provided with the necessary enrollment information that will allow them to evaluate this option.

Under Illinois public utility law, the Ameren Illinois utilities are integrated distribution companies (IDCs). As such, these companies no longer own or operate generating stations. Instead, these utilities concentrate on providing safe, reliable and economical delivery of electricity to their customers.

The Ameren Illinois utilities do not profit from the sale of electricity. The price the utilities pay for electricity is passed on to customers on a dollar- for-dollar basis without any markup. Under Illinois law, electricity customers may purchase electricity from retail energy suppliers approved by the ICC or through their electricity utility.

All Ameren Illinois utility customers, including those who select the PRP/RTP option, will continue to pay the delivery service rate, customer charge and meter charge as approved by the ICC.

For more information about the Community Energy Cooperative, visit the organization's Web site (www.energycooperative.org). For more information about Ameren Corp. and the Ameren Illinois utilities, visit the Ameren Web site (www.ameren.com).

St. Louis-based Ameren Corp. [NYSE:AEE], through its affiliates, serves 2.4 million electricity and nearly 1 million natural gas customers across 64,000 square miles of Illinois and Missouri.

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The Community Energy Cooperative is a nonprofit membership organization that enables communities to control their energy use and costs and to benefit from changes in energy technology and regulations. The Cooperative was launched in June 2000 by the Center for Neighborhood Technology.

Current projects include the Energy-Smart Pricing Plan SM, now in its fourth year of operation. This innovative program provides incentives for using energy wisely and helps residential customers manage their electricity bills.

The Cooperative team is also working on a project in Kane County, Illinois. Kane County Energy Solutions is an effort to plan for this growing county's energy future.

In addition to these projects, the CEC team works to provide useful, up-to-date energy information to the organization's more than 8,000 members.