The Missouri Public Service Commission approved (Case No. ER-2016-0179) a unanimous agreement on March 8 filed by parties in an electric rate case that authorizes Ameren Missouri to increase annual electric operating revenues by about $92 million, the commission announced late last week.
Ameren’s 1.5 million customers in the Show Me State can expect to see the rate increase take effect on April 1.
According to the PSC Staff, a typical residential customer will see monthly electric bills increase by approximately $3.70. That includes an increase of $1.00 a month in the fixed monthly customer charge for residential customers.
The current fixed monthly customer charge for residential customers is $8.00 a month. The fixed monthly customer charge covers a portion of the fixed costs to provide service to a customer whether or not service is actually used.
The agreement approved by the PSC was submitted by the Office of the Public Counsel, the PSC staff, Ameren Missouri, several large and small customers of Ameren; and a number of consumer and environmental advocates. The Commission’s vote was 5-0.
When Ameren Missouri filed its rate request last July 1, it sought to increase annual electric operating revenues by about $206.4 million.
In its filing, Ameren stated that the main drivers for the requested rate increase included:
- New capital investment on Ameren Missouri’s system covering significant generation, transmission and distribution projects;
- Higher transmission operator charges;
- Reduced revenues from Ameren Missouri’s largest customer (Noranda Aluminum); and
- Reduced revenues due to reduced demand on Ameren Missouri’s system.
As part of its rate request, Ameren Missouri also sought continuation of the Fuel Adjustment Clause (FAC). Under the agreement approved by the PSC, the FAC will be continued. This allows Ameren Missouri to adjust customer bills up to three times a year to reflect any change (increase or decrease) in fuel and purchased power costs.
Under the agreement approved by the commission, the budget for a program (called Keeping Current) designed to provide bill payment assistance to eligible low-income customers will increase by about $250,000 above its 2016 budget of $1 million. The agreement also includes continuation of a low-income weatherization program.
Also under the agreement, Ameren Missouri will separately show and label the customer and volumetric charges on residential and small general service class customer bills, and will update its website to include more transparent billing information.
As indicated by the parties at an on-the-record proceeding held by the PSC on March 2, the agreed-upon return on equity for Ameren Missouri falls within a range of 9.2 to 9.7 percent.