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Ameren rate increase OK'd; watchdog group will appeal

(via Flickr/Fergus Randall)

Illinois regulators have given Ameren Corp. permission to raise natural gas rates by about $32 million but a watchdog group says it will appeal the decision.

The Illinois Commerce Commission said Wednesday that it will allow Missouri-based Ameren to raise its natural gas rates by 1.2 percent to 5.4 percent depending where customers live. They would go up starting later this month.

The Citizens Utility Board said Thursday it will appeal the decision.

Board executive director David Kolata claimed the decision comes just as Illinois faces the first real cold weather of winter.

The board complained the rate increase is $2 million more than an administrative law judge recommended last fall.

Ameren initially sought a $50.7 million rate increase.

Ameren has 813,000 natural gas customers in central and southern Illinois.