Friday, December 08, 2006

Ameren on the Hot Seat


NewsChannel 5 Exclusive: Ameren CEO Responds To Criticism

By Mike Bush

(KSDK) - Ameren CEO Gary Rainwater is in the eye of the storm.

"Obviously I'm on the hot seat," says Rainwater. "Obviously I'm responsible and I'm accountable."

But even as criticism rains down, Rainwater is giving his company high marks. In fact, he says, on a scale of one to 10, Ameren's storm response is a 10.

"We really are among the best in the industry at restoring power in these severe weather events," says Rainwater.

Rainwater says Don't blame Ameren; blame Mother Nature. He says there's only one thing that could have prevented the outages.

"We could bury the power lines. We could put them all underground and that would make them virtually weather-proof," says Rainwater. But he adds that would cost at least $20 billion over the next 25 years and for homeowners, that would mean electric rates at least three times higher than they are now.

Rainwater was asked if there was absolutely nothing Ameren could have done to prevent the massive power outages in both July and December.

"Absolutely nothing is a very strong term but we've been in this business for 100 years, we have done all of the things that can make a difference in minimizing the damage from these storms," says Rainwater.

From the reservoir collapse last December, to the storms in July, to the power outages of the last week, Rainwater calls this past year "challenging." But he says please don't call the company arrogant.

"Our company cares about our customers," says Rainwater. "We are doing everything possible to restore power to our customers."


AP/KSDK
****

I know some of you have already seen Tom Foreman's post about this on the 360 blog, but if you haven't read his post yet, I encourage you to head over there.

Also, I thought I'd share something I find rather amusing and disgusting at the same time. Yesterday, I got my electric bill from Ameren in the mail. Enclosed was a notice saying:

"AmerenUE has filed revised tarrif sheets with the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) which would increase the company's electric service revenues by approximately $360.7 million, and which would increase the company's natural gas service revenues by approximately $10.8 million. For the average residential customer the proposed increase would be approximately $6.00 per month for electric and $6.00 per month for natural gas.

...

Public comment hearings have been set before the PSC as follows..."

So, in other words, Ameren is now wanting to RAISE OUR RATES and is holding hearings next January with the PSC (same group our governor is hoping to have investigate Ameren via public hearings). Here's a bit from an AP article:

By JIM SUHR
Associated Press Writer

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Top leaders in Missouri and Illinois, where thousands of customers remain without power after last week's winter storm, sharply criticized a utility's response to the crisis Thursday.

Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt asked his state's Public Service Commission to hold public hearings and said he wants St. Louis-based Ameren Corp. to provide a clear plan for preventing a recurrence.

"Thousands of Missourians have been without power for nearly a week. This is unacceptable," Blunt said in a statement. "Missourians expect and should receive reliable service from their utility companies."

As of Thursday, about 50,000 Ameren customers still lacked power, most of them in Illinois. At the peak, more than 500,000 Ameren customers in both states were without power."

6 comentarios:

Jade said...

I posted on the "360" blog today about the power outage ;)

But so did Betty Ann and Lorie Ann. It's a freakin' joke.

J.

courtney01 said...

I saw your post.

I also saw that Betty Ann has recently suffered through a power outtage. Hmmm.

WHO ARE THESE WOMEN??!?!?

jr said...

I actually got posted on the "360" blog also today...go figure..didn't have to use the middle name of "Ann" either. I think Betty Ann has a "story" for every topic on the blog. We could write a book about her life just from all of her "360 blog entries!

Today's Betty Ann statement "Many of those evacuees in my home were college students and let me tell you, you haven't lived until you have a college student hurricane party in your house!"

Wow! She parties too!

jt said...

I've heard from Betty Ann and Lorie Ann to last a lifetime! I think Lorie Ann had her own "story" today.

marie said...

@jt
All the "Anns" have a story! It's required. ;)

eliza said...

I posted to Tom's blog post too and pointed out that IL is deregulated and MO is not. It's nice to see them actually covering this after they dropped the ball in July.

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