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Ameren Rate Hike
A year ago at this time, Ameren and Commonwealth Edison electric customers in Illinois were bracing for higher bills after a ten-year rate freeze expired after the Illinois General Assembly failed to agree on a rate relief plan. Lawmakers and the utilities eventually agreed on a one billion dollar rate relief plan for Ameren and ComEd customers as well as the creation of a new Illinois Power Authority to negotiate new contracts to purchase power on the open market. One year later, Ameren is seeking a 247-million dollar a year rate increase for electric and natural gas customers, a four-percent increase for electricity and seven-point-one percent increase for natural gas. Hundreds of area residents turned out this week for an Illinois Commerce Commission hearing on the Ameren request held at Marionís Williamson County Pavilion. Jennifer Fuller of WSIU Public Radio reports the overwhelming majority of those testifying were angry the utility is asking for money on the heels of last yearís huge rate increases. Later, jak Tichenor talks with Ameren officials and State Representative John Bradley who called for the local hearing.