Metro-East News

Residents get a charge out of Ameren event in East St. Louis

Jackie Joyner-Kersee, left, and Ameren Illinois President Richard Mark pass out goodie bags to residents.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee, left, and Ameren Illinois President Richard Mark pass out goodie bags to residents.

Ameren Illinois hosted its third annual customer assistance event Tuesday at the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center and more than 650 people turned out seeking assistance on their energy bills.

The event, which brings customer service representatives from behind their desks into the community to meet with customers one-on-one, started in 2014. Representatives from St. Clair County’s Intergovernmental Grants Department and Jerry Hassenstab from Catholic Urban Charities were also on-hand for the event.

“We had an opportunity to see around 650 customers and discuss their bills with,” said Stacey Young, a supervisor with Ameren Illinois and coordinator of the event. Some of the customers had fallen behind through the winter months and were seeking payment options before April 1. Those who matched the income guidelines received $150 grants toward their energy bills. The guideline is 200 percent of federal poverty, Young said.

Joyner-Kersee was delighted to host the event at the JJK Center and to have Richard Mark, the president of Ameren Illinois, in the building mingling with the customers Ameren serves.

“It’s great to have a center that can host Ameren officials and other partners to put on events such as the one today that helps hundreds of citizens,” said the always cheerful Joyner-Kersee.

She also said the event gave people who had never been to the center to see what the center has to offer the children in the area.

“It’s a win-win situation ... to have the president of Ameren at the center shaking hands with different families. It was very inspiring and uplifting. It was just a beautiful sight. The people came into the gymnasium and sat down and waited for Ameren officials to provide them with information,” Joyner-Kersee said.

Joyner-Kersee said the people who attended, “left with a lot of good information on how to cut down on their bills, and some of them with at least $150 toward their bills. They also got an energy efficient light bulb,” she said.

Young said the individuals who provided the information on how to to cut energy bill costs were energy assistance advisers from Ameren. Young also said the people learned about different resources that are in place to help them. If they had questions, customer service representatives answered them face-to-face.

“I saw customers who were very grateful for the opportunity to talk to someone one-on-one. It made us feel good to meet people in person and discuss their situations one on one. It was a really good event,” Young said.

To contact Ameren call 1-80 755-5000.