Ameren-Illinois is asking the Illinois Commerce Commission to help decrease its customers electric delivery fees. The annual assessment and proposal to ICC says that Ameren-Illinois would like to decrease delivery rates by a total of $45.3 million beginning on January 1st, 2021.
Jim Chilsen, spokesman for the Citizens Utility Board, says that proposal to cut costs to consumers has been nearly a decade in the making. “Ameren and ComEd, the two biggest electric utilities in the state, got permission from the Illinois General Assembly through the Energy Infrastructure and Modernization Act, to set rates by formula. It uses a formula to determine Ameren’s rates each year, and that formula is supposed to help Ameren pay for SmartGrid technology upgrades. Now, that has led to increases over the years. In fact, Ameren-Illinois customers have seen a net increase on their delivery rates of about $300 million under formula rate making. As SmartGrid improvements wrap up, they’ve been doing it for several years now, this year has led to a decrease in delivery rate. That’s just an indication that the revenue has caught up to the work that needs to be done to put these upgrades in place.”
Chilsen says the delivery rate drop is welcome news for Illinois consumers. “Regardless of the reason, this is really good news for Illinois consumers. We need some good news right now, and a $45 million rate cut is good news. It’s not a tremendous amount of money on your electric bill, but it’s still rates going down rather than up. That’s always good news, especially when you’re in the middle of a public health and financial crisis, which Illinois and the country is most definitely in right now.”
Chilsen says that more work is ahead for Ameren, regulators, legislators, and the Citizen’s Utility Board to make electricity more affordable and available. Chilsen says that now more than ever electricity needs to stay affordable while people are told to stay at home and thus, are using more electricity. He says it will be vital, especially with the upcoming warm summer months ahead for electricity to stay on in Illinois homes.