Debate continues over Ameren's proposed rate increase.
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Debate continues over Ameren's proposed rate increase.

Date: February 17, 2009
By: Elizabeth Billingsley
State Capitol Bureau
Links: HB 554

Intro: AmerenUE was at the center of House debate Tuesday as legislators argued over a 30 year old law restricting the rate increase the energy giant has been stumping for a month. RunTime:0:42
OutCue: SOC

The law, passed in 1976, prohibits the utility company from shifting financing costs during construction of a power plant.

Lewis Mills represents consumers in utility rate cases, and he called the bill a "utility wish list." 

Mills challenged the Committee to consider the bottom line to ratepayers' pockets.

 

Actuality:  MILLS.WAV
Run Time: 00:10
Description: Some of you have constituents that are AmerenUE customers, are you looking forward to telling them that you approved raising their rates four times a year for six, eight, ten years in a row?
 
 
But a member of the Public Service Commission cautioned that low rates may not be best for consumers in the long run.  
 
AmerenUE's president defended the company and clarified the energy provider is open to compromise on the bill.

 


Intro: AmerenUE's presidents offered signals of compromise on its proposed rate hike to pay for a nuclear plant it wants to build in Mid-Missouri.

Elizabeth Billingsley has more from Jefferson City.

RunTime:0:43
OutCue: SOC

AmerenUE's president backed off his stance held during a Senate hearing last week.

The state's largest energy provider is now willing to compromise on its proposed rate increase.

Jeffrey King teaches nuclear engineering at Missouri S&T, and said AmerenUE's proposal is a good move for the state.

Actuality:  KING2.WAV
Run Time: 00:16
Description: I would personally prefer to pay a little bit more upfront to finance, clean reliable baseload electricity that I know will be there for the next 40 to 50 years for my children and my students and their children rather than face the risks of price shocks in the future.

But the bill's future is unclear.

One St. Louis County lawmaker called the bill repugnant and unconstitutional.

From the State Capitol, I'm Elizabeth Billingsley.