COLLINSVILLE, Ill., Aug. 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Ameren Illinois welcomes the opportunity to participate in stakeholder discussions designed to develop sound energy policy for Illinois. At Ameren Illinois, our focus is on ensuring that Downstate utility customers are not unfairly saddled with the costs of energy legislation that is written to benefit Chicago. After initial review of the Governor’s new framework, we generally agree with some of the principles. The state has a real opportunity to produce more solar energy and get more electric vehicles on the road. We support the implementation of stronger ethics requirements, which should also include energy stakeholders such as the renewable energy developers, the Citizens Utility Board, and any others who may benefit from energy legislation.
It is noteworthy that many of the proposed utility “reforms” already exist in the current law. For example, each year, utilities file extensive documentation on our costs and grid improvement plans as part of a 9-month regulatory process. Numerous stakeholders, including the Attorney General’s office and consumer groups, can challenge every cost. And they do. The end result is a transparent and fair process that delivers a fair result. Customer rates are lower today than they were in 2011 and performance based ratemaking has actually saved Downstate customers $187 million compared to traditional ratemaking.
Regarding the future of clean energy in Illinois, there’s a common misconception that clean energy is free energy. To the contrary, our analysis indicates that one of the clean energy plans alone will cost Downstate residential customers an additional $1.8 billion over ten years. This is on top of what our customers are already paying for the current clean energy plan.
We are concerned that the proposed plans throw more money at an approach that is clearly not working today. Since 2016, the State of Illinois has committed more than $1 billion of utility customer dollars for renewable projects. Yet today, only 7-8% of renewable energy is under contract statewide, and here in Central and Southern Illinois, only 2% of the energy supply delivered to customers is renewable. This leaves us far short of the 19% level we should be at today in order to reach the state’s goal of 25% renewables by 2025.
We have worked hard to earn the trust of our Downstate customers and communities. We believe that consensus on clean energy policy is possible, but we need to take the time to do it right. It should not be rushed, and the final product must recognize the regional differences in this state. When it comes to clean energy policy, Illinois is not a “one size fits all” state.
We look forward to being part of a principled discussion about energy policy so a plan can be put in place that works for Downstate.
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SOURCE Ameren Illinois