ST. LOUIS — Amy Johnston is willing to pay a little extra on her utility bill if that’s what it takes to help save the planet.
AmerenUE on Monday launched a new voluntary program called Pure Power that allows customers to pay an additional 1.5 cents per kilowatt hour to help support development of wind power and other forms of renewable energy. For a typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per month, the program will cost $15.
“We want to give all our customers not only a range of opportunities to save energy but also ways to support renewable energy — the wave of the future for this planet,” said Richard Mark, Ameren’s senior vice president for energy delivery.
Johnston’s Chesterfield home uses about 1,400 kilowatt hours per month. The mother of three said she was more than willing to be among the earliest residential customers to sign up.
“I care about the environment,” Johnston said during a ceremony at Ameren’s headquarters in St. Louis. “I look at my children, and I look toward their future. This is one way I can make a difference in their lives, maybe not now, but in the future.”
The program is open to all customers and can be stopped at any time without penalty. As a backdrop to the launch ceremony, a truck hauled in a 131-foot-long turbine that was en route to a wind farm.
AmerenUE President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Voss said the program is one of many ways the utility is trying to conserve resources and fund renewable energy. Overall, Ameren has pledged to spend a minimum of $13 million annually toward those goals.
Monsanto Co. was the first company to sign up for Pure Power.
“As a company 100 percent focused on agriculture, a strong environment is essential to our business success and our mission of making farmers more productive and more efficient,” said George Osman, Monsanto’s director of facilities.
Ameren spokeswoman Susan Gallagher said more than 80 percent of power generated for Ameren comes from coal plants. Most of the rest comes from nuclear generation, and a small percentage comes from hydroelectric plants.
AmerenUE, a subsidiary of Ameren Corp., serves 1.2 million electric and natural gas customers in Missouri.