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Lower Wholesale Electricity Costs Add Up to Savings For Ameren Illinois Utilities Customers

Reduced Rates Take Effect in June

PEORIA, Ill., May 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Ameren Illinois Utilities customers will pay less for electricity beginning June 1 as a result of a sharp decline in the wholesale price of electricity due to the reduced demand for all forms of energy.

It is estimated the new rates for electricity - shown as the "Electric Supply" charge on bills - will mean a typical residential customer who uses 10,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity a year will save approximately $100.00, or about 8 percent on the total annual electric bill. Electricity usage is measured in kilowatt-hours.

"This welcome news of relief comes as we enter the cooling season, a time when most customers are using more electricity than at other times of the year," said Stan Ogden, Ameren Illinois Utilities vice president of Customer Service and Public Relations.

Ogden noted individual customer electric usage determines the actual amount of individual residential bills. You are encouraged to learn more about using less energy to spend less at ActOnEnergy.com and to adopt proven energy conservation practices that will help reduce bills without sacrificing personal comfort.

A 2007 state law created the Illinois Power Agency (IPA) to procure electricity through a competitive process on behalf of all Illinois investor-owned utilities, including the Ameren Illinois Utilities. This new process operates under the oversight of the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC). The law which created the IPA was created through negotiations led by the Illinois Attorney General's office and included the state legislature and the investor-owned utilities.

Through the IPA procurement process, the Ameren Illinois Utilities have contracted for an amount of electricity that represents approximately one-third of its total needs for the next 12 months. Electricity supply contracts run for three years and about one-third of the total supply is procured annually to minimize the impact of possible wholesale price volatility.

The wholesale price of electricity is not regulated, but is based on market conditions caused by supply and demand. The Ameren Illinois Utilities pass the cost of electricity on to customers without any markup in price through the Electric Supply charge. About two-thirds of a typical residential customer's bill is the actual cost of electricity.

"Though the cost of electricity has fallen, the need for greater energy efficiency is as strong as ever. Through our Act On Energy initiative (ActOnEnergy.com), you will learn how to spend less by using less electricity and natural gas," Ogden said.

At ActOnEnergy.com, you can access the Energy Toolkit that allows you to view personalized billing information for the current period and even for the past 24 months. You can see how your energy usage stacks up against that of others and whether your energy usage is above or below the average of all customers; learn where your energy dollars go (heating, cooling, cooking, water heating, etc.), and receive advice on how to reduce your energy spending without sacrificing comfort.

Also, residential electricity customers can visit the Act On Energy Web site to purchase high-efficiency compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) online or at participating Home Depot and Sam's Club stores at sharply discounted prices, discover how to receive $35 for retiring an old refrigerator or freezer and learn about other programs. There also are special energy efficiency incentive programs for business customers.

Customers who are not Internet active still may take advantage of the Act On Energy programs by calling the Ameren Illinois Utilities (AmerenCIPS - 1-800-789-2477; AmerenCILCO - 1-888-672-5252; AmerenIP - 1-800-755-5000).

Electricity customers may still benefit from two special programs. The first is the Bill Payment Assistance Program which now provides energy assistance grants of up to $300 to low-income electric customers with household incomes of 150 percent to 200 percent of the energy assistance federal poverty level. These grants are provided through the local community action agencies that administer the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

The second program is the Hardship Assistance for Residential Customers. The local community action agencies distribute these program funds based on the hardship experienced by customers with household incomes of up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level. The agencies may award grants of up to $600 per household.

Customers may call 1-877-411-9276 to obtain the name and address of their local community action agency.

Some customers also may be eligible for assistance through LIHEAP, which is administered by the local community action agencies. LIHEAP provides energy services payment assistance to eligible low-income households, elderly persons and people with disabilities. Grants are based on the number of people in a household, total income and the type of energy used.

In addition, the Ameren Illinois Utilities offer payment plans for customers who find it difficult to pay a bill.

To establish a payment plan or obtain other information, call your Ameren Illinois Utility - AmerenCIPS: 1-888-789-2477; AmerenCILCO: 1- 888-672-5252, and AmerenIP: 1-800-755-5000.

The Ameren Illinois Utilities (AmerenCIPS, AmerenCILCO, AmerenIP) have been providing safe, reliable energy delivery service for more than a century. The Ameren Illinois Utilities deliver energy to 1.2 million electric and 840,000 natural gas customers in more than 1,200 communities within a 43,700-square-mile service territory, while helping you spend less by using less through our ActOnEnergy.com initiative.

SOURCE: Ameren Illinois Utilities

Web site: http://www.ameren.com/