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Ameren customers, this could cost you $300 million!

Illinois coal plant owner Dynegy wants Ameren to join an East Coast power grid that could increase YOUR electricity rates—by $300 million.

We blogged about this worrisome proposal last week, and now we want to hear what you have to say.

In case you missed it, here’s some background on the situation:

  • Dynegy owns nine coal-fired power plants in the state and sells electricity to Ameren Illinois.
  • Ameren Illinois is the power company for much of Central and Southern Illinois. The power grid in those regions is managed by an organization called the Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO).
  • In an effort to increase its profits, Dynegy has indicated that it wants Ameren to switch to a different power grid operator, PJM Interconnection, which serves customers in northern Illinois and parts of the East Coast.
  • PJM and MISO have different methods of figuring “capacity costs”—what they pay generators like Dynegy to make sure there’s enough power available when demand is highest. We pay those capacity costs in our power prices.
  • An analysis by the former director of the Illinois Power Agency estimates that if Ameren were to switch to PJM, you would pay a total of $302 million more per year. On average, that’s an increase of roughly $8 per month on Ameren power bills.

It’s all a little confusing, but here’s the gist:  Dynegy could make more money if Ameren switches to the PJM power grid.  But guess who pays for that in the end?  (Hint? Take a look in the mirror.)

ComEd, which is currently part of PJM, currently has a rate of 7.487 cents per kWh.  To compare, Ameren’s rates are between 4.361 and 4.465 cents per kWh.  But that could all change if Ameren switches to PJM.

Let us know what you think here.

Dynegy would need the OK of state regulators to make such a move. Next week, CUB is planning to take action with the support of consumers like you.  Stay tuned for more updates on this important issue.