With Ameren, it seems like one rate increase just goes into effect then the company is back, asking for another.
Last week, Ameren filed a request for a $50 million natural gas rate increase with the Illinois Commerce Commission. That's just the delivery charge; the cost of the gas itself is additional.
We get it that the costs of business keep going up, but another $50 million up? A year ago Ameren got a $32 million rate increase. The Citizens Utility Board says that since 2008, Ameren has increased gas rates by $57 million.
Rate increase requests go through an 11-month approval process, which gives the Illinois Commerce Commission plenty of time to dissect this request. As a regulated utility, Ameren is entitled to make a reasonable profit. The question for the ICC is, is this request reasonable?
Consumers depend on the ICC to be a watchdog and keep rates in line. Many homeowners and renters struggle to pay their utility bills right now, never mind another rate increase. They can't go elsewhere to buy this product. Unlike electricity, no other companies compete to supply natural gas. Even if there were, customers would still have to pay Ameren for delivery.