Along with a $260 million rate increase, Ameren Missouri will be allowed to continue to charge customers for the rising costs of transmission projects still under construction. Currently, the costs are about $26 million but are expected to rise 24 percent each year.
On Wednesday, the Missouri Public Service Commission approved a $260 million rate increase for Ameren, about two-thirds of what the company had sought. The hike goes into effect Jan. 2.
Ameren officials were contacted for this article but were unable to comment.
Although it is illegal in Missouri to charge customers for construction projects that have not yet brought in revenue, the PSC, which rules on utility rate cases, decided that costs related to the construction of transmission facilities belong in the customers’ fuel adjustment charge (FAC). Ameren had been placing those costs in the customer fuel charge since they began in January 2012.
Midwestern Independent System Operators
The commission ruled that the charges should be allowed because the costs are imposed on Ameren by the Midwestern Independent System Operators, a regional transmission organization that works to provide safe, reliable and affordable electricity within 11 states and a Canadian province.
Still that decision rankles some.
Former state Sen. Joan Bray, who is now the chair of the Consumers Council of Missouri, asked, “What can they do within state law? Can they completely usurp it? I find it very troubling.”
Bray said that the members of the Consumers Council of Missouri will explore how they can get the issue sorted out on behalf of customers.