Regulators approve rate increase; Ameren Illinois customers affected

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MARYVILLE, IL (KTVI) - Ameren Illinois customers are facing at least a 10 percent increase on their electric bills. One component of the overall electricity price called capacity,  jumped to about nine times what it was last year. Illinois capacity prices are now going to be 50 times what they are in neighboring states. It’s something that consumer advocates see no rationalization for.

Basically, the capacity price is what energy providers, like Ameren, pay to power plant owners in the coming year, to ensure there’s enough power to deliver during peak demand. Capacity price is determined by an auction and makes up two to three percent of your total bill.

After the auction, Illinois’ capacity price is $150 per megawatt day and Missouri's fell to just $3.38 per megawatt day.

Ameren customers could be paying up to$150 more per year. If the new capacity price is approved by federal regulators, the new price will last for one year, and will takes effect on June 1.

Ameren Illinois senior director of power supply Jim Blessing said the rate increase has to do with requirements for local power supply, but he feels it doesn't add up.

"One of the things that's very troubling to us is the results that we've seen indicate there are more than enough generating resources within the state of Illinois," he said.

Blessing said his team has launched its own investigation into this auction process to make sure the rules were followed. And if so, whether they need to change.

"We work hard to try to make sure that our customers are getting a fair price, and I think we've done a very good job of that over the years, so this is disappointing to us," Blessing said.