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Your Opinion: Utility's request for rate hike unjustified

Dear Editor:

This time it’s only taken AmerenUE seven months to file again for a rate increase. They have had four increases in the past five years since 2007, and the utilities rates have risen by hundreds of millions of dollars. A $14/month increase is unjustifiable. People like Mr. Baxter and Mr. Voss of Ameren can afford the increase, but the every day consumer can’t. By the way, Voss received a base salary increase of $150,000. I wonder how many more executives received a healthy increase. In the meantime, unemployment is still high and folks are having a difficult time making ends meet.

I was going to say I can’t believe they are asking so soon after the last increase, but they know we the consumers have no say or choice in the matter. We need the energy, we have no recourse and we will ultimately be saddled with higher energy costs.

The Missouri Public Service Commission is a useless entity. I say this as I attended last year’s public forum and with others voiced our concerns, because the MPSC stated, “they wanted to get a hands on feeling as to the consumers concerns.” That forum was a sham, as some months later the MPSC stated that their hands were tied by law and a rate increase had to be granted. If their hands are tied, then the law needs amending to grant them more power over increases.

Ameren stated that they have taken steps to help customers to reduce energy use. One with budget billing, and by energy assistance programs. All budget billing does is stretch out your payments but by year’s end you need to pay up the balance. If you use less energy, Ameren invokes a higher base rate, no incentive there for the consumer to reduce his energy cost.

The increase said among other reasons, higher fuel costs. We are paying a fuel adjustment charge based on our monthly usage and I might add they are the only company who charges their customers a “FAC.”

The City of Jefferson needs to bear the responsibility of the additional charges we see on our invoice.

A city sales tax, a Jefferson City-Cole County Municipal charge, which in essence is a business license fee for Ameren that they are allowed to recover from us, the customer. Lately I noticed a charge titled, “Energy Efficiency Pgm Charge.” Where and who approved this charge?

Citizens, we all need to contact our elected officials and voice our concerns over these types of charges.

Issue-oriented letters to the editor in response to this or about other local topics are welcome. All letters should be limited to 400 words. The author's name must appear with the letter, and the name, address and phone number provided for verification. Letters that cannot be verified by telephone will not be published. Send letters for publication to editor@newstribune.com

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