Ameren Illinois files for electric rate decrease
Ameren Illinois (NYSE: AEE) residential customers will pay less for electric delivery service in 2018 under a plan filed today with the Illinois Commerce Commission. The proposal would lower monthly bills for the typical residential customer by approximately $1.70 per month.
It's the second consecutive rate decrease the company has filed for, and the fifth overall rate decrease proposal since the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA) - or Smart Grid Bill - was passed in 2011.
"Prudent cost management, solid project execution and reduced energy supply costs have enabled us to continue modernizing the electric grid with minimal impact on customer rates," said Craig Nelson, senior vice president, Regulatory Affairs and Financial Services for Ameren Illinois. "We're pleased to report to the ICC and to our customers that Ameren Illinois electric delivery service rates will go down next year and our combined delivery and supply rates will remain well below the national average."
Ameren Illinois, a subsidiary of Ameren Corporation (NYSE: AEE), expects to invest an additional $128.4 million on electric grid enhancements in 2017. Those project costs, along with other capital improvements of more than $300 million to maintain distribution equipment and install new technology to detect and reduce the frequency of power outages, will be recovered in 2018.
To date, Ameren Illinois' grid modernization initiatives have resulted in an overall 17% increase in reliability and saved customers an estimated $45 million each year. The company has installed 450,000 electric smart meters at customer premises and plans to add 540,000 more of the two-way devices through the end of 2018. Smart meters provide Ameren Illinois customers with enhanced energy usage data and access to programs to help them save on their energy bills.
The Ameren Illinois plan follows the passage of the Future Energy Jobs Act, legislation to keep two nuclear facilities in operation, preserve more than 4,000 jobs, and ensure the availability of lower-cost clean energy for consumers. Ameren Illinois projects that stable energy supply, along with stronger energy efficiency programs included in the legislation, will result in a further decrease in customer bills beginning in June of this year.
"Illinois' progressive energy policy is paving the way for Ameren Illinois to build a smarter grid and deliver value to our customers in central and southern Illinois," said Nelson.
To learn more about Ameren Illinois' electric and gas modernization programs, visit AmerenIllinois.com/focus, Facebook.com/AmerenIllinois, and Twitter @AmerenIllinois.
About Ameren Illinois
Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and 816,000 natural gas customers in Illinois. Our mission is to power the quality of life. Our service territory covers more than 1,200 communities and 43,700 square miles. For more information, visit AmerenIllinois.com, find us on Twitter @AmerenIllinois or Facebook.
Statements in this release not based on historical facts are considered "forward-looking" and, accordingly, involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed. Although such forward-looking statements have been made in good faith and are based on reasonable assumptions, there is no assurance that the expected results will be achieved. These statements include (without limitation) statements as to future expectations, beliefs, plans, strategies, objectives, events, conditions, and financial performance. In connection with the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, we are providing this cautionary statement to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated. The following factors, in addition to those discussed within Risk Factors in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016, and elsewhere in this release and in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations suggested in such forward-looking statements:
- regulatory, judicial, or legislative actions, including changes in regulatory policies and ratemaking determinations, such as those that may result from the complaint case filed in February 2015 with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission seeking a reduction in the allowed base return on common equity under the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. tariff and Ameren Illinois' April 2017 annual electric distribution service formula rate update filing, and future regulatory, judicial or legislative actions that change regulatory recovery mechanisms;
- the effect of Ameren Illinois participating in a performance-based formula ratemaking process under the Illinois Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act("IEIMA"), including the direct relationship between Ameren Illinois' return on common equity and 30-year United States Treasury bond yields, and the related financial commitments required by the IEIMA;
- our ability to align overall spending, both operating and capital, with frameworks established by our regulators in our attempt to earn our allowed return on equity;
- the effects of changes in federal, state, or local laws and other governmental actions, including monetary, fiscal, and energy policies;
- the effects on demand for our services resulting from technological advances, including advances in customer energy efficiency and private generation sources, which generate electricity at the site of consumption and are becoming more cost-competitive;
- the effect of the Future Energy Jobs Act ("FEJA") on Ameren Illinois, including on the allowed return earned on its customer energy efficiency investments and its ability to achieve the electric energy efficiency saving goals established by the FEJA;
- the timing of increasing capital expenditure and operating expense requirements and our ability to recover these costs in a timely manner;
- the cost and availability of purchased power and natural gas for distribution and the level and volatility of future market prices for such commodities, including our ability to recover the costs for such commodities and our customers' tolerance for the related rate increases;
- business and economic conditions, including their impact on interest rates, collection of our receivable balances, and demand for our products;
- the impact of weather conditions and other natural phenomena on us and our customers, including the impact of system outages;
- the construction, installation, performance, and cost recovery of transmission and distribution assets;
- legal and administrative proceedings;
- the impact of cyber attacks, which could result in the loss of operational control of energy centers and electric and natural gas transmission and distribution systems and/or the loss of data, such as customer data and account information; and
- acts of sabotage, war, terrorism, or other intentionally disruptive acts.
New factors emerge from time to time. Management cannot predict all such factors, nor can it assess the impact of each such factor on the business or the extent to which any such factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained or implied in any forward-looking statement. Given these uncertainties, undue reliance should not be placed on these forward-looking statements. Except to the extent required by the federal securities laws, we undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements to reflect new information or future events.