Electric bills to climb starting Monday

Posted: May. 29, 2015 9:48 pm Updated: Jun. 20, 2015 1:45 am

Staff Writer | 217-221-3391 | @MHopfWHIG

QUINCY -- Residences and small businesses with Ameren Illinois should see a significant increase in their electric bills, as a 30 percent higher energy supply cost takes effect Monday.

A large chunk of the increase will come from a hike in the capacity fee, which is included in the power price cost. Under the new structure, Matt Anderson said households will see a summertime (June through September) rate of 5.922 cents per kilowatt hour, while non-summer rates (October through May) will cost 6.167 cents per kilowatt hour.

Rates starting last June were 3.738 cents per kilowatt hour in the summer and 3.546 cents per kilowatt hour in the non-summer.

Matt Anderson, a senior account executive with consulting firm Anderson, said Midcontinent Independent System Operator Inc. procures the capacity from electricity sources and oversees the grid, which is a network delivering electricity from suppliers to consumers, during peak times in the summer.

"MISO will go out, and they will grab the capacity from the generators and meet the peak amount they need," he said.

The capacity charge for the region last year was set at $16.75 per megawatt day, which is the amount of one million watts used in a day, but it climbed to $150 per megawatt day.

In this year's auction, Illinois's capacity cost turned out about 50 times higher than any of the other fifteen states MISO covers.

"We were the only ones that increased for this year," he said. "Everyone decreased to the mid-$3 range."

Kent Anderson, president of Anderson Consultants, said Ameren does not profit from the energy supply portion of the bills.

"All their profit is made in the delivery charges," he said. "This is strictly the energy supply charges."

In response to the hike, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a complaint Thursday with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that MISO levied capacity charges that are unjust and unreasonable.

The rate hike may not affect too many. Those enrolled in municipal electric aggregation programs or already buy power from an alternative supplier will not see the rate hike.

A majority of Quincy residences already receive their power from First Energy, which took over the electric supply in February 2013 after receiving a three-year contract.

Those not under an alternative supplier will see the rate hikes.

"It has the opportunity to affect several residents in Quincy, as well as several small commercial accounts," Matt Anderson said.

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