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Ameren says rate rollbacks are unfeasible

By Adam Allington, KWMU

Bloomington, IL – Responding to criticism over recent electric rate hikes in Illinois, Ameren says that rate rollbacks are not an option.

Both ComEd and Ameren raised rates in January after a ten year rate freeze.

Many business owners claim that the new rates are unsustainable and risk driving them out of business. The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) have accused the power companies of crying poverty on Main Street while reaping record profits on Wall Street.

Responding to the chorus of criticism, regional politicians are discussing the possibility of legislation that would cap or roll back rates to 2006 levels.

Leigh Morris, a spokesman for Ameren Illinois says rate roll backs would be an unsustainable solution.

"The problem with rolling back the rates is, these companies would be forced to charge last years rates but pay this year's price for electricity," says Morris. "They simply do not have the revenue that would cover that increased cost."

Morris says Ameren's new price structure simply reflect a nation-wide trend toward higher energy costs. He says that in 2006 Ameren UE had to pay one billion dollars more for electricity then in 2005.

Morris cautions that any attempt to alter rates levels would likely result in layoffs or reduced service.