Ameren Missouri hopes to raise rates, residents say increase is unnecessary

Ameren Missouri is hoping to increase its annual electric revenue by $206.4 million.

That would be accomplished by raising the rates for users.

In Kirksville, many attended a public hearing Monday night to share their concerns over the potential increase.

At the 13th and final hearing held across the state, Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) Staff received testimony from ratepayers.

If approved by the PSC, residential customers will pay roughly $99 more a year.

That balances out to about $8 or $9 more dollars a month.

Despite hiking up rates just two years ago, Ameren Missouri says another increase is necessary.

Ameren spokesman Warren Wood says the extra funds will help the company continue to serve customers with high-quality service.

"It's been about two years since our last regulatory rate review. This is about the investments we've been making on behalf of the customers for safe, clean and dependable energy and our efforts to keep costs down."

While Ameren Missouri is in obvious favor of the increase, ratepayers are not.

Throughout the public hearings, the PSC has heard a number of comments on a variety of topics.

Some say they are no longer pleased with service.

They questioned why the rates keep increasing, as service and communication with Ameren personnel continues to decrease.

Others have said the higher rates will make it harder to afford basic utilities, especially for those living on a fixed income.

One woman even said the hearings are just a "dog and pony show," because Ameren will most likely get its rate increase.

The PSC will now take all comments received in Kirksville and across the state to help decide how to proceed with Ameren's request.

Ameren says if approved by the Missouri Public Service Commission, the increased rates will take effect at the end of May.

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