Feb. 24--Ameren Missouri reached a unanimous settlement Thursday that would grant the utility authorization to increase revenue by $92 million, less than half of the $206 million total that it had sought in its push for rate increases.
The agreement between all parties involved in the case still needs to be reviewed and approved by the Missouri Public Service Commission over the next month, though the PSC was one of the entities to sign off on the announced settlement.
Consumer and environmental groups applauded the settlement, particularly because it will spare customers a sizable boost in fixed rates, after the utility agreed to scrap plans to implement a monthly $4.89 "energy grid access charge."
Residential ratepayers currently pay $8 per month in fixed fees. In the wake of the settlement, Ameren is adjusting their targeted increase in fixed rates to $9 monthly.
"It's a reasonable compromise," said John Coffman of the Consumers Council of Missouri. "It reached a good middle ground on overall rate increase and design."
Environmental groups argued that the additional fixed costs would diminish the financial incentives for energy efficiency.
"This is a pocketbook issue," said Andy Knott, a representative of the Sierra Club's Missouri Chapter, in a statement. "Customers should be rewarded, not punished, for energy conservation."
Ameren representatives had said that the $206 million it originally sought would result in a 7.8 percent increase in costs for a typical residential customer.
In a statement, Ameren Missouri President Michael Moehn called the $92 million agreement a "fair resolution" that would allow the company to "recover our investments in cleaner and more dependable energy while keeping our electric rates among the lowest in the United States."
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