Customers Stand Up Against Ameren Bill Hikes - Wandtv.com, NewsCenter17, StormCenter17, Central Illinois News-

Customers Stand Up Against Ameren Bill Hikes

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People were fired up at a town hall meeting at the Decatur-
Macon County Senior Center on Tuesday.

Seniors are calling on state lawmakers to just say no to utility rate hikes.

Carole Bagely said, "we're sick and tired of all of this going on and we're now going to take a stance."

Bagley, Juanita Ewing and Nancy Funk were just three women at the meeting who have had enough with rising utility bills.

Juanita Ewing told WAND, "it just seems like things are just getting out of hand and they're off the wall. . . People in high places are getting by because people don't speak up."

Ewing is talking about administrators at Ameren. She and many other people are not happy with their push to get state lawmakers to pass various bills. One in particular, Senate Bill 9. It is an electricity rate hike hoping to modernize equipment.

"It's an aging system that is in need of continuous upgrades," Tucker Kennedy, the Manager of Public Relations for Ameren said. "We can make improvements, we can generate reliability and we can also put a lot of people to work in high wage jobs in central and southern Illinois."

Kennedy added, supply costs are low and right now is the time to act.

However, some people think it's unnecessary.

"Ameren has all the money they need. They just announced a 46% increase in profits and senior citizens and people on low incomes and people laid off, they can't afford these rates," said Nancy Funk, a volunteer lobbyist for AARP.

As the gas prices go down, how Ameren delivers the gas is what's spiking. However, Kennedy said on the electric side, customers are saving money.

"It does not always equate to an increase. For example, on April 19th we have just filed for a $30 million decrease in our electric rates and it's the 3rd successive filing that would decrease electric rates for customers," Kennedy said.

Something some of their customers said is hard to see.

"People are having a hard time paying their utility bills and what's being proposed right now is only going to get worse," added Funk.

If you want to get involved, AARP wants you to call your state legislators. You can voice your opinions by dialing (800) 719-3020.

If you have any questions for Ameren, call customer service at (800) 755-5000.   Customers needing more information about their electric and gas rates, log onto www.illinoisratefacts.com.

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