By: Paxton Record |
The Illinois Commerce Commission Wednesday approved new charges for Ameren Illinois electric and natural gas customers who refuse advanced meters or do not provide the utility access to install them.
A $20 monthly charge will be assessed to customers who refuse advanced meters once a local area is converted to advanced metering. The monthly charge will be $24 or $12 per service type, for combination customers who refuse advanced meters for both Ameren Illinois natural gas and electric service.
Also approved was a $70 one-time exchange fee per meter — if an advanced meter is in use on a customer premise and a customer requests the advanced meter to be removed.
Ameren will attempt to contact a customer multiple times before an advanced meter refusal charge appears on a customer’s bill. If a customer wishes to avoid the advanced meter refusal charge, the customer may contact Ameren Illinois to schedule a meter exchange to an advanced meter at no cost.
The commission determined the charges were reasonable and reflected the additional costs necessary to read or service non-advanced meters. Advanced meters communicate customer energy usage information electronically, eliminating costs associated with reading meters manually.
Customers will be notified before upgrades take place in their area. Meter upgrades began this summer and will continue through 2019.
Ameren Illinois has launched a comprehensive consumer education program to ensure that customers are informed before meter upgrades take place in their area. The company is also working with local government and civic leaders, and non-profit partners to educate customers on the benefits of advanced meters.
The Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act requires Ameren Illinois to install advanced meters, and the company’s plan is to deploy nearly 780,000 electric meters to customers in its service area. Ameren Illinois will also upgrade 468,000 natural gas meters.