Ameren to raise natural gas rates if state agrees

Sunday, March 11, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 10:51 a.m. CST, Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A settlement reached Thursday between state officials and Ameren Corp. would raise natural gas delivery rates for Missouri customers.

The agreement, which still needs approval from the Missouri Public Service Commission before taking effect, would raise the delivery charge for natural gas by about $2.24 a month for an average customer in central Missouri. Mike Cleary, a spokesman for Ameren, said the fixed monthly charge for gas delivery would also rise from $10.20 a month to $15 a month. Ameren’s last increase for natural gas delivery came in February 2004.

The rate increase was smaller than the one Ameren had sought when it originally approached the Public Service Commission, which represents Missouri utility customers and must approve any increases in Ameren’s natural gas and electricity rates. The original request would have raised Columbia customers’ bills by about $6, Cleary said.

The settlement bars Ameren from increasing delivery rates for 3 years after the increase takes effect and could be approved by the Public Service Commission as early as Wednesday, Cleary said. If approved, the rate increase would take effect April 1.

Cleary said Ameren also plans to ask the Public Service Commission to approve another rate increase linked to the cost of natural gas, which is a separate charge to customers from delivery charges. The additional rate increase, if approved, would also take effect April 1, Cleary said. He also said that the details of the additional rate increase were still pending and Ameren was unsure how much more it would increase customers’ bills.

Ameren supplies natural gas to about 125,000 customers in Missouri. Cleary said the Columbia area is Ameren’s largest natural gas market in the state.

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