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Monday, 21 April 2014 08:36

Ameren Missouri Rates Questioned

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri utility regulators plan to hear evidence in June on a pair of cases challenging the electricity rates charged by Ameren Missouri.
 
The Missouri Public Service Commission scheduled a hearing to begin June 4 on a request by Noranda Aluminum for a 25 percent reduction in the rates it's charged at its aluminum smelter in the southeast Missouri town of New Madrid.
 
The commission set a hearing to begin June 23 on a separate case involving Noranda and Ameren. That complaint alleges Ameren is earning more than it is authorized to from its electricity rates.
 
 The commission said it expects to make a decision by July 30 on the rates involving the Noranda smelter and by Aug. 20 on the case asserting Ameren is earning too much.
 
Published in Local News
   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - State utility regulators have publicly released a confidential report detailing how much money has been earned by Ameren Missouri.
   The Missouri Public Service Commission decided Tuesday to unseal a November report that has been at the heart of a complaint alleging the St. Louis-based electric company was earning more than allowed.
   The newly released documents also include testimony from utility regulation consultants hired by Noranda Aluminum, which is leading the challenge of Ameren's electricity rates.
   The consultants said Ameren exceeded its authorized return on equity by $29 million during a 12 month period ending last Sept. 30. But the consultants said Ameren's allowable earnings rate should be adjusted downward. If that adjustment were made, the consultants estimated that Ameren earned $67 million more than what was reasonable.
 
Published in Local News
   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri's official consumer advocate wants regulators to publicly release information that could show whether Ameren Missouri has earned more than it's entitled to from its electricity rates.
   The request by Public Counsel Lewis Mills to the Missouri Public Service Commission deals with a report filed last November by the St. Louis-based utility company that has been kept confidential.
   In February, Noranda Aluminum and other Ameren customers filed a complaint alleging the utility was earning more than allowed by the regulatory commission. That complaint cited the confidential November report and asked the PSC to lower Ameren's allowable earnings - thus potentially cutting rates for consumers.
   Mills said in his recent filing that the public needs access to the confidential information to understand the basis for the allegation that Ameren is overearning.
 
Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - State utility regulators have approved a deal combining Missouri's two largest natural gas companies.

The Missouri Public Service Commission on Wednesday approved an agreement that allows Laclede Gas Co. to purchase Missouri Gas Energy.

Laclede Gas serves about 630,000 customers in the St. Louis area and parts of eastern Missouri. Missouri Gas Energy serves more than 500,000 customers in the Kansas City area and parts of western Missouri.

St. Louis-based Laclede Gas announced last December that it would pay about $1 billion to buy Missouri Gas Energy and New England Gas Co.

The deal approved by Missouri regulators bars Laclede Gas from seeking a general rate increase in its current service area until October 2015. But it could seek an immediate rate increase for the Missouri Gas Energy territory.

Published in Local News
Ameren doesn't need an infrastructure surcharge. That's according to consumer advocacy groups which point to the utility's own financial data as proof.

The Consumer Council, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group, is arguing against passage of Missouri Senate Bill 207 that would allow Ameren to establish a surcharge in order to generate millions of dollars for infrastructure improvements.

Consumer groups argue that the extra revenue isn't needed since the utility earned well above it's authorized return limits in 2012. They also point to a $263 million rate increase that took effect in January.

Ameren officials say the higher than expected profits last year were due to unusual circumstances, like the extra-hot summer, and weren't enough to cover needed infrastructure improvements.
Published in Local News

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