The amount utility customers pay for natural gas and electricity service from Ameren Illinois is set to go down, according to the utility.
Residential customers who receive both electricity and natural gas from Ameren in southern and central Illinois are expected to see a drop in their bills by about $8 a month by January, the utility said.
“In 2019, we will continue the next phase of upgrading the state’s natural gas and electric delivery infrastructure, which is expected to create jobs and improve service reliability, and develop new tools to help our customers manage their energy usage and costs,” Theresa Shaw, vice president of Regulatory Affairs and Financial Services said in a statement.
After an annual review, the Illinois Commerce Commission recently approved an increase in the cost to deliver electric service of an average of $4.50 per month in 2019. However, the delivery rate is offset by an 18 percent decrease in supply costs, the utility said. The total amount residential customers pay each month is expected to decrease by $5.47, for the typical residential customer who uses 10,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year.
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The electricity rate change is scheduled to go into effect in January, said Marcelyn Love, spokeswoman for the utility.
Electricity supply costs make up a significant portion of the electric bill and are passed directly to customers without mark up, Ameren said.
The ICC also approved a change in gas delivery charges. Ameren estimates the delivery portion of the typical residential customer’s monthly natural gas bill will decrease an average of 94 cents per month.
Gas supply costs also are expected to decrease by 10 percent, the utility said. The two decreases are expected to to lead to a total decrease of $2.41 a month for natural gas beginning this month, Love said.
Charges for natural gas delivery are reviewed on an as-needed basis, Love said.
The last change in the gas delivery services rates was filed in January of 2015, and rates were effective in mid-December 2015, Love said in an email.
Ameren has been updating its delivery systems for both electricity and natural gas.
The utility has added storm resistant utility poles and power lines, outage detection technology, and more than 1 million smart meters throughout its service territory to reduce outages and reduce the amount of time to restore power.
In the natural gas system, Ameren Illinois is in the process of replacing older pipelines and facilities and adding new gas distribution equipment and technology, the utility said.
Since 2015, Ameren has replaced more than 160 miles of mechanically coupled steel pipeline throughout its 43,000-square-mile service territory, the utility said.