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Plan on paying more for power

ILLINOIS -- When state law changed three years ago, it changed the whole process.
ILLINOIS -- When state law changed three years ago, it changed the whole process. It means you could see an increase in your electric bill next year. Ameren announced Tuesday it plans to raise electric rates by more than $206 million. WCIA-3's Gary Brode finds out how much it will affect your monthly bill.

For an average person, it could be anywhere from $6 - $12 a month based on rates in the area. Someone in Champaign could see an 11% increase in their monthly bill. Changes like this could happen every year.

"The utility company files information to document their request for a rate change. If they meet the requirement, the rate changes."

This year, it means an increase in electric bills. In 2011, the Energy Infrastructure and Modernization Act was passed. It meant a new way of determining future rates, but, until now, it hasn't meant higher rates.

"The first two years, the information provided to the ICC adjusted the rates downward, but this is the first year that Ameren is actually filing to increase the rates based on the information they are providing."

The law was changed so utility companies could increase their power grids. Ameren is claiming lost revenue from the past two years and the proposed cost of this year is the reason for the $206 million increase. Now the proposal goes through the Illinois Commerce Commission.

"As long as the Commerce Commission is monitoring the process and following the law, there is really no opportunity for the community to intervene in these rate changes. It's different than it used to be three years ago when they would file for an increase and people would have the opportunity to challenge or question it."

The proposed rate hike would begin in 2015, so starting January 1, turning on a light switch could cost a little more. Delivery of the electricity is what's going up on the bill. What does this mean for electric aggregation? It doesn't really matter where the city gets its electric, the bill is going up.
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