Metro-East News

‘Very well needed’: Ameren helps metro-east customers with electricity bills

Latoria Coleman of Brooklyn came to the East St. Louis City Hall, filled out some paperwork.

By the end of a short wait, she received a $100 credit on an electricity bill for her three-person family.

“Next month I probably won’t have to pay a bill,” Coleman said.

She’ll probably use the small windfall to help pay for fuel and other needed things.

Coleman was one of the people who lined up at the East St. Louis City Hall to receive help with paying an electricity bill.

Working with the St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants Department, Ameren Illinois representatives on Wednesday provided credits of up to $100 to residential customers who met the same low-income eligibility guidelines used by the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

“As much as we work hard for our money, we don’t get as much as fast as we want and need,” said Coleman, who works as a cashier at Dollar General. “It’s very well needed.”

Ameren Illinois on Wednesday made $50,000 available to help income-qualified customers with their energy bills.

The $100 (energy) credit is good, but it’s a one-time thing. What we want people to do is understand how they can save energy every day and that will help them in the long run to keep their cost low. We feel if we can educate our customers about how to conserve energy, how to keep their cost low, that gives them some income they use for other things such as food, medicine, child care, those types of other needs.

Richard Mark, Ameren Illinois president

Residential energy efficiency kits, which included energy efficient light bulbs and shower heads, were distributed to each attendee, along with information on programs that can help customers manage their usage and reduce their monthly bills.

“The $100 (energy) credit is good, but it’s a one-time thing,” said Ameren Illinois President Richard Mark. “What we want people to do is understand how they can save energy every day and that will help them in the long run to keep their cost low.”

“We feel if we can educate our customers about how to conserve energy, how to keep their cost low, that gives them some income they use for other things such as food, medicine, child care, those types of other needs.”

This is the third event this year Ameren has held in the metro-east. One in the spring time was similar to Wednesday’s bill credit event. In June Ameren Illinois distributed 500 free air conditioners to low-income individuals and families.

Ameren is in its third year of holding energy assistance events have been held throughout the state. This year Ameren expects to provide $1.5 million for energy assistance, Mark said. The first two years, about $1 million was provided in total.

“We know so many of the state agencies have run out of energy assistance funding and we know the federal government funds are coming in slower this year,” Mark said. “Those agencies are struggling.”

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter

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