St. Louis Public Radio News
5:10 am
Mon April 6, 2009

AARP rallies against CWIP bill

St. Louis, MO – Missouri lawmakers are set to consider legislation this week that would repeal a voter-approved ban on some electric rate increases.

AmerenUE says it needs the construction work-in-progress legislation to fund a new reactor at its Callaway nuclear power plant - it's paid for three television ads. The bill would allow the state's investor-owned utilities to include the construction costs for new renewable energy or low-carbon power plants before those plants are generating electricity.

Opponents, including AARP, say the legislation will mean rate hikes of up to 40 percent. That will make it difficult for families who are already struggling financially to pay their bills, said state volunteer Sharon Wells.

"And then to ask us to pay for something that's not even on the drawing board yet, we see that as being very unfair," she said. "Many, many seniors will never see the completion of the process. They will be unfortunately gone."

An AmerenUE spokesman says rate increases will be closer to one to three percent. The company has come under fire for not releasing the information it used to come up with those numbers.