Last year around this same time, the Missouri legislature took a major step forward for our state when they overwhelmingly passed a new, bipartisan energy law. This new law, which went into effect last August is helping to secure Missouri’s energy future and transform our state’s aging energy infrastructure into a smart, secure and stable grid, and supports more clean energy generation. More than 85% of legislators supported the bill, and Ameren Missouri customers are already reaping the benefits of this law, including an expedited rate cut of 6.1%.
The centerpiece of this landmark legislation was consumer protections and oversight, including the aforementioned rate cut, a rate freeze on electric base rates until April 2020, and for the first time ever, a cap on future rate increases until at least 2023. Overall Ameren Missouri’s residential, commercial and industrial customer rates are 18% below the U.S average and 13% below the Midwest average, per most recent report from the Edison Electric Institute. With these new customer protections in place, it promotes Missouri as a state that continues to offer competitive energy rates for not only current customers, but for those businesses looking to expand or relocate to Missouri.
In August 2018, Ameren Missouri kicked-off our Smart Energy Plan to implement the customer benefits associated with the new law. And in February, we announced the largest energy infrastructure plan in our company’s 100+ year history. An investment plan of $5.3 billion in more than 2,000 infrastructure upgrade projects, in communities across our state, is designed to deliver on promises made to modernize an aging energy grid, while keeping rates stable and predictable for our customers.
Customers across Ameren Missouri’s service territory will benefit from this Smart Energy Plan. This includes areas that already have strong reliability metrics, compared to the industry standard. Communities such as Dunklin, Pemiscot, Mississippi and Stoddard counties, saw customer reliability improve by 50% since 2010 from infrastructure upgrades. However, Ameren Missouri is pushing to do “even better.” As part of the Smart Energy Plan, we have planned infrastructure upgrades that include more than $8 million for new high capacity substations, new underground cables and smart technology in these four southeast Missouri counties.
This plan comes at a time when Missouri’s critical infrastructure, just like our state’s roads and bridges, are in need of substantial upgrades. A report from the American Society of Civil Engineers recently rated Missouri’s electric infrastructure with a D+, so the Smart Energy Plan is the step in the right direction.
So only one year ago, the discussion was about Missouri’s energy future and how can we all work together to provide customers more stable rates, upgrade the energy grid, introduce new forms of clean energy, boost economic development in local communities and create jobs.
Now we’re happy to say after some great work from legislators, stakeholders, customers and our company, we now have a Smart Energy Plan that will do just that.
I encourage you to learn more at AmerenMissouri.com/SmartEnergyPlan.
Warren Wood is the vice president of regulatory and legislative affairs for Ameren Missouri.