Metro-East News

Coalition says Ameren not doing enough to reduce energy demand

Members of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition say Ameren Illinois isn’t doing enough to reduce energy demand in its service territory.

The coalition said Ameren’s recent energy efficiency plan filed with the Illinois Commerce Commission does not meet goals set out in the Future Energy Jobs Act, which went into effect in June.

The law calls on Ameren to reduce energy demand by 16 percent by 2030. Ameren’s energy efficiency plan filed with the ICC would fall short of the law’s targets by 27 percent, the coalition said.

Ameren denied the assertion it was trying to lower its target goal and said the filing was only for four years. The utility added it plans to spend $112 million, the maximum allowed under the law, during the next four years to help reduce energy usage.

“We’re focusing on assisting moderate-to-low income customers who pay for energy efficiency programs every month and deserve the opportunity to receive the benefits,” said Richard Mark, the chairman and president of Ameren Illinois.

“It’s our obligation to ensure that the working families of central and southern Illinois receive real and meaningful savings from the programs they are paying for,” Mark added. “That is the fundamental goal of our plan and we will not apologize for it.”

It’s our obligation to ensure that the working families of central and southern Illinois receive real and meaningful savings from the programs they are paying for. That is the fundamental goal of our plan and we will not apologize for it.

Richard Mark, the chairman and president of Ameren Illinois

Energy efficiency efforts would create jobs, the coalition said.

Coalition members say they fear job creation that could come from meeting efficiency savings goals would go to northern Illinois and the Chicago area.

Josh Mogerman, a spokesman with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said utility providers can help create jobs with energy reduction by helping people insulate their homes so they spend less money on heating and cooling, encourage people to use efficient light bulbs, and help people purchase more efficient appliances.

He added every $1 spent on energy efficiency, leads to $3 in energy savings.

“Energy efficiency could be packing 7,000 jobs and $700 million into the Illinois economy under the state’s new energy rules; but that can’t happen if Ameren gives up on its targets before they even start to try,” Mogerman said.

Ameren plans to invest more than $11 million during the next four years to develop “a diverse workforce and investing in the communities for our customers; that includes efforts to develop small and local businesses that can provide services in the energy efficiency space,” Mark said.

Ameren and ComEd have different savings goals, as ComEd has to reduce its energy demand by 21.5 percent by 2030.

If the utilities meet their targets, they would be eligible for certain bonuses.

Ameren said its bonus would amount to approximately $1.3 million in the first year of its initial four-year plan and $10.1 million in total during the four year plan.

What Ameren has done here is it can’t meet the targets negotiated in the Future Energy Jobs Act, but there’s clear evidence to show they can. What (Ameren) showed that is it costs them 44 percent more per kwh for energy saved than it does for ComEd, that doesn’t really pass the straight face test.

Dave Kolata, executive director of the Citizens Utility Board

ComEd has 3.8 million customers within a territory of 11,400 square miles, or 333 customers per square mile. Ameren Illinois has 1.2 million electric customers in a service territory that covers 43,700 square miles, or 27.5 customers per square mile.

“There is significantly less energy saving potential in the Ameren Illinois service territory,” Mark said.

Dave Kolata, executive director of the Citizens Utility Board, said Ameren’s proposed plan would result in higher bills for central and southern Illinois than if they complied with the targets set in the Future Energy Jobs Act.

Kolata said its unfair to downstate customers that they won’t save as much money as ComEd customers in the Chicago area.

“What Ameren has done here is it can’t meet the targets negotiated in the Future Energy Jobs Act, but there’s clear evidence to show they can,” Kolata said. “What (Ameren) showed that is it costs them 44 percent more per kwh for energy saved than it does for ComEd, that doesn’t really pass the straight face test.”

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter

  Comments