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Amerenue Provides $2 Million To Cover Utility Bills, Meet Customers Who Are Saying “Thank You”

AmerenUE kicks off phase two of its Clean Slate program today by giving away $2 million to customers needing help on their electric and gas bills. UE launched the $3 million (2009) Clean Slate program by giving away the first $1 million in June to low-income elderly and disabled customers who had fallen behind on their bills. Once the company’s elderly and disabled customers are cared for, funds will go to cover other low-income customers. This effort is fully funded by UE; customers will not be charged for the program.

AmerenUE President and CEO Warner Baxter said, “At UE, we are dedicated to meeting our social responsibilities, along with providing safe, reliable power to our customers. Clean Slate is just one of the many ways we are stewards in our community.”

86-year-old Frances Watkins says she was blessed by UE’s program. “I was ecstatic when I heard about Clean Slate.” Watkins says it helped her by taking a load off her mind. Like many people in this economy, Watkins’s hours at work have been cut; she works four to five hours a week. Watkins lives with her two granddaughters and two great granddaughters. Her granddaughters lost their jobs -- one just last week, the other in October. Clean Slate covered a $530 electric bill for the entire family.

Geneva Wolff also saw her hours cut and faced a similar fate as Watkins, until Wolff found Clean Slate.

Former teacher, Dennis Potter, hit a rough patch in 2006 – losing his home to foreclosure. He says being able to turn to Clean Slate for help was a huge relief when he owed $720 on his electric bill. Through UE’s program, Potter says he’s able to clean up his credit history, and he’s working to get back on his feet. Now Potter is a homeowner and is building a new career in gardening and landscaping.

“With past Clean Slate programs, we have helped nearly 8,000 customers take steps to regain financial stability. We all know times are especially challenging right now, and this is another way we are helping our customers,” said Richard Mark, AmerenUE Senior Vice President, Customer Operations.

Customers must apply at a participating Clean Slate agency. These partners help define age limits and eligibility using poverty guidelines and other circumstances. Participating agencies can be found on Ameren’s Web site, www.ameren.com/cleanslate, or by calling the United Way Information and Referral number, 1-800-427-4626. In addition, AmerenUE’s automated voice response program offers information to customers who call into the customer contact centers. Customers can dial 314-342-1111, or toll-free 1-800-552-7583, and choose menu option number “4.” Then enter “2” and the ZIP Code when prompted.

Each qualified participant selected for the program must be an active UE customer and is being asked to pay 10 percent of the delinquent amount on his or her bill. This is required to qualify for a Clean Slate pledge that will cover the rest of the outstanding balance.

Inactive qualified customers—those who have been disconnected for nonpayment—will be required to pay 20 percent of their arrearages. Once the qualified customer has paid that portion, Clean Slate will pay the remaining balance on a UE customer’s account.

Through Clean Slate, eligible customers can also sign up for UE’s Budget Billing program, which allows them to pay a regular monthly amount—avoiding the peaks that come with either summer air conditioning or winter heating.

Other available assistance includes:

• Dollar More, the state’s largest privately funded energy assistance program.

• Meet the Heat, UE’s effort to reach out to low-income and elderly customers and provide them with information about how to stay safe in summer heat.

• Be Cool, UE’s annual ENERGY STAR®-qualified air conditioner giveaway program. This summer, UE distributed 400 energy efficient window-unit air conditioners to social service agencies across the state.

• Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). LIHEAP funds are administered by state agencies to help eligible low-income households, elderly persons and people with disabilities pay for energy services.

• The Low Income Weatherization Program. UE provides funding for 13 Community Action Agencies and the Urban League to help eligible customers weatherize their homes.

AmerenUE, founded in 1902, provides electric service to approximately 1.2 million customers across central and eastern Missouri, including the greater St. Louis area. UE serves 57 Missouri counties and 500 towns. The company’s electric rates are among the lowest in the nation. For more information, visit www.ameren.com.
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