ST. LOUIS – Ameren Missouri wants customers to pay more for their electricity. On Thursday, locals can have their say on Ameren Missouri’s major rate hike request.

There are two chances Thursday to weigh in on Ameren’s proposal. The utility wants a rate hike totaling $316 million. That means the average customer will pay some $12 more a month, or about $144 more annually.

If the increase is approved by the Missouri Public Service Commission, Ameren’s revenues would jump by 11.6%. This comes after a separate $220 million rate increase from Ameren went into effect in February of last year.

Critics are speaking out against the price tag of Ameren’s latest rate hike proposal.

FOX 2’s Post-Dispatch partners reported that critics say Ameren should not be able to recover costs and profits associated with the company’s coal-fired power plants, it’s political lobbying efforts, its legal costs related to clean air act violations, and the use of customer rates to help fund charitable donations.

In a statement to the Post, Ameren said the rate hike would pay for “major upgrades to system reliability and resiliency, as well as investments to support our transition to cleaner energy.”

The statement also read, “We understand that there is no good time to adjust electric rates, and we’re committed to do what we can to keep rates as low as possible by spending wisely and cutting costs.”

The Missouri Public Service Commission is hosting two public hearings on Thursday. The first is at noon at the St. Charles County Executive Office building on North 3rd Street in St. Charles. The PSC staff will give out information and host a question-and-answer session.

The second hearing will be at 6:00 p.m. at the Florissant Valley campus of the St. Louis Community College. That will have a similar format to the St. Charles hearing.