Ameren Missouri proposes 6-year efficiency program

Ameren Missouri has announced a six-year program that it says would cut customers’ energy costs and give them more control over their energy use.

The St. Louis-based utility is seeking approval from the Missouri Public Service Commission to invest $550 million in 26 programs that would reduce the company’s impact on the environment, according to a filing submitted Monday.

If approved, the programs would launch in 2019 and would help educate low-income communities on how to reduce energy use, allow customers to recycle old appliances, and promote smart thermostats to reduce energy consumption, according to the filing.

Expanding the program to six years would allow the utility to include 15 new programs for customers and would make this proposal under the Missouri Energy Efficiency Investment Act the largest in state history, Ameren said in a press release.

The programs would save 2 billion kilowatt-hours of energy, the amount of energy about 166,000 homes consume in one year, St. Louis Public Radio reports.

“The energy savings opportunities provided under the proposed program are an important component of Ameren Missouri’s goal of reducing carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050,” Michael Moehn, president of Ameren Missouri, said in a press release.

However, consumer advocates have expressed concern about Ameren’s plan. Cara Spencer, executive director of the Consumer Council of Missouri, said she is worried about it being a six-year program, as opposed to the normal three years.

“When you are asking for approval of a really long proposal, it really cuts out a large amount of scrutiny and the revisiting or adjusting of those plans,” Spencer said.

Before a decision is made on the proposal, Spencer said, the Consumer Council of Missouri plans to intervene on behalf of consumers.

“We’re skeptical of the plan,” Spencer said. “I think that renewable energy is a good thing, but at the end of the day we don’t want consumers to have to pay for any more than they should, especially when you’re talking about a monopoly investor-owned utility.”

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