Ameren Missouri filed requests Wednesday with the Missouri Public Service Commission to raise its electric and natural gas base rates next year.
Ameren officials said the new rates would take effect "to reflect major upgrades to electric and natural gas system reliability and resiliency for customers, as well as investments to support the transition to cleaner energy for the benefit of customers and local communities."
Ameren officials said their customers have seen rate decreases in recent years, including two electric base rate decreases since 2017 and a natural gas rate decrease in 2019. Currently, according to Ameren, their electric rates are 8.3 percent lower than they were in 2017.
If the PSC approves the rate increase, it would cost an average electric customer about $12 more a month (based on approximately 1,029 kilowatt-hours of usage per month). For Ameren natural gas customers, mainly located in central and southeast Missouri, the increase in base rates would cost about $4 more a month for the average residential customer.
If approved, the new electric rate request reflects a 5.4 percent total increase over an almost five-year period, a yearly average of approximately 1 percent, according to figures provided by Ameren.
"Due to COVID-19, we delayed our rate review requests," Ameren President Marty Lyons said. "We've also been reducing our expenses to keep costs as low as possible, which is why our electric rates are well below the average in other Midwest states and across the country, and are positioned to remain relatively low even after this adjustment."
Lyons said Ameren Missouri's investments have made a difference for customers. He said that was demonstrated by the company's system performance during the extremely cold weather in February that stressed the electric grid and natural gas systems in parts of the United States.
"As the weather created challenges in several areas of the country, Ameren Missouri did not experience any significant reliability issues," Lyons said. "We are seeing fewer outages with shorter durations thanks to investments made in infrastructure."
The PSC review process that can take up to 11 months.