Times are tough for Ameren – Missouri’s largest electric utility – which has been dealing with a series of widespread power outages as the company looks for Public Service Commission approval for a rate increase. Governor Matt Blunt, who has previously expressed his concerns over the PSC’s granting of a rate hike, restates those concerns in the wake of this latest severe weather which – at one point – left tens of thousand of Ameren’s customers in the dark. Blunt says Ameren must present a plan that demonstrates the utility’s preparedness in dealing with severe weather of any kind. He says it seems to him that residents of the St. Louis area suffer a disproportionate impact from severe weather. He realizes Ameren cannot please everyone, but says the company must show it is taking important steps to prevent the kind of storm damage that has been seen since the region was blasted by storms last Summer.