The state’s largest electricity consumer has filed a complaint against Ameren, the state’s largest electricity company.
Chris Roepe with the Fair Energy Rate Action Fund says the aluminum manufacturing company, Noranda, has filed a complaint against Ameren, and for good reason. He says Ameren has increased its rates 43 percent over the past several years, collecting half a billion dollars in fuel adjustment surcharges. He says that’s costing consumers millions of dollars while Ameren continues to over-earn.
The Public Service Commission is required to review the complaint, which alleges that Ameren is exceeding the 9.8 percent rate of return on equity currently authorized by the PSC.
Roepe says Ameren is required to submit to the PSC and other parties a quarterly report of its earnings, called a Surveillance Monitoring Report, which is required for Ameren to charge Missouri consumers a Fuel Adjustment Surcharge. That surcharge shifts 95 percent of the risk of fuel cost increases onto consumers.
“Ameren has gone to great lengths to keep the reports concealed from the public,” Roepe says. “Apparently raising rates by 43 percent over the past six years wasn’t enough for Ameren. The state’s largest monopoly has now been found overearning and enjoying excessive profits above the PSC authorized amount. We applaud this complaint and urge the PSC to swiftly order a reduction in Missourians’ electric rates to compensate for Ameren’s overearnings.”
A St. Louis Post-Dispatch story from a year ago reports that in 2012, Ameren earned $80 million more than authorized when its 11.66 percent return on equity exceeded the 10.2 percent, which the PSC had authorized.
Roepe says an overearnings complaint is the only way under Missouri law that consumers can remedy the excessive profits of a monopoly utility, and urges the PSC to review the case and order Ameren to reduce its rates for residential and business utilities.