(via Flickr/[F]oxymoron)

An announcement Friday from St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation says that the company is offering certain employees an opportunity to retire early. Ameren is an electric and natural gas utility provider for many residents of the St. Louis region.

The move comes as a cost management measure during what the company calls a "challenging economic period."

According to Ameren, here are the requirements for employees to be eligible for the offer:

(Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)

Update: 9:45 a.m. Oct 6:

Projected schedule for the Franklin County landfill zoning regulation:

Flickr/Asthma Helper

Mo. Senate to consider new measure repealing teacher social media restrictions

A Mo. Senate committee has endorsed a measure to repeal a contentious new law restricting teachers' interaction with students over websites such as Facebook. The Senate Education Committee voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to repeal the law.

The action comes after  a Mo. judge issued an order in September blocking the new law from taking effect, citing concerns that it could violate free speech rights.

(via Isle of Capri Casino)

Isle of Capri begins to take shape

Convoys of trucks began arriving Tuesday night at the construction site for the Isle of Capri casino in Cape Girardeau with concrete for the foundation. The Southeast Missourian reports that crews worked for nearly 12 hours, pouring more than 2,100 cubic yards of concrete.

The $125 million Isle of Capri is scheduled to open in late 2012. Features are expected to include three restaurants, a terrace overlooking the river and a 750-seat event center.

(via Flickr/[F]oxymoron)

 Opponents of Ameren Illinois’ $90 million rate increase request are gearing up for a hard fight.

The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) and the AARP held a series of press conferences today to explain why they want state regulators to reject the proposal. Ameren Illinois is asking for an exorbitant “return on equity,” which is the allowed profit rate for shareholders, according to CUB senior policy analyst Bryan McDaniel.

Ameren's coal-fired plant in Labadie.
Veronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

Labadie, Mo. is a town about 35 miles from St. Louis that might be described as “quaint” and “quiet.” But for the past two years, a controversy between some town residents and Ameren Missouri, an electric company that has a power plant situated in the Missouri River bottoms near Labadie, has sparked a lively local discourse. It concerns the ash that’s leftover from burning coal at the plant. Johanna Mayer has this report.

(via Flickr/[F]oxymoron)

Update 3:47 p.m.:

A good news update - it looks like the numbers of those without power have gone down dramatically in the last half hour or so.

Updated 3:18 p.m. with approximate boundaries of outage - map below

A planned power outage, announced Wednesday afternoon by Ameren, has, at our last check just before 3 p.m., affected approximately 4,800 people in the Missouri portion of the St. Louis area.

The outage was necessary, Ameren said in a statement, to make repairs following a cable failure Tuesday night. Those repairs, Ameren said, are being made to "prevent a more widespread and extensive outage."

(Missouri Solar Energy Industry Association)

A Cole County judge has set aside his earlier ruling that declared solar rebates in Missouri to be unconstitutional.

The rebates were part of a renewable energy ballot initiative passed by Missouri voters in 2008.

Circuit Judge Daniel Green’s initial ruling in June stated that the $2 per-watt solar rebate was essentially a seizure of private property from St. Louis-based Ameren Missouri.  But he has temporarily vacated that ruling to allow other interested parties to file briefs in the case.

(via Flickr/lobo235)

Do you rely on electricity from Ameren Illinois to light your lamps?

Ameren Illinois has issued a cautionary announcement to its customers about con artists attempting to steal identities and defraud customers.

(via Flickr/s_falkow)

A St. Louis County plumbing contractor has filed a lawsuit against the utility company Ameren. The suit alleges the plumbing company lost its contract because it repeatedly informed Ameren of environmental, health, and safety violations.

According to the lawsuit, those violations ranged from failing to fix broken plumbing systems to illegally discharging oil to soils and sewers.

(via Flickr/vissago)

Missouri regulators have approved a $172 million increase in electric rates for Ameren Missouri, but the company won't be permitted to recover costs it sought to rebuild the Taum Sauk reservoir.

The Public Service Commission approved the increase Wednesday on a 5-0 vote. It takes effect in August and is expected to raise the average residential bill about $8 a month.

St. Louis-based Ameren Missouri is the state's largest electric utility with about 1.2 million customers, mostly in eastern and central Missouri.

(Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)

Ameren's plan to dump coal waste moves forward

Ameren’s plan for a coal waste dump in an eastern Missouri floodway  has moved a step forward.

Ameren operates a power plant along the Missouri River in the Franklin County town of Labadie and dumps coal ash into two ponds. Those ponds are near capacity and Ameren wants to fill the river bottom with coal waste and surround it with a 20-foot-tall levee.  

(Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)

The Board of Commissioners of Franklin County will discuss controversial changes to its zoning ordinance tomorrow.

Up for approval is permit language allowing the utility company AmerenUE to build a coal ash landfill next to its plant in Labadie, Mo.

Patricia Shuban is the Director of the Labadie Environmental Organization, which opposes any rule that would allow Ameren to store toxic substances in the Missouri River floodplain.

(via Flickr/Erik Abderhalden)

In a 2008 speech Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius referred to her state as the “Saudi Arabia of Wind,” and that statement came along with plans to produce 10 percent of the state’s energy from wind by the end of the year.

That was also the year Missouri voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition C, a referendum designed to expand and grow the use of renewable energy here.  But two-and-a-half years later most of the regulations contained in Prop C have yet to go into effect.

(Official White House

Obama to Visit Joplin

Speaking from London, President Barack Obama says he plans to travel to Missouri on Sunday to meet with victims of the "devastating and heartbreaking" tornadoes that hit the state this weekend.

The president says he wants Midwesterners whose lives were disrupted by the deadly storms to be assured that the federal government will use all resources possible to help them recover and rebuild. Obama spoke in London, the second stop on his four-country, six-day tour of Europe. The president is due back in Washington Saturday night.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Two St. Louis-based companies are reporting lower earnings for the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year.

(Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)

Officials at Ameren took questions from shareholders about the utility company's procedures for disposing of coal ash today.

The annual shareholder's meeting was open to all Ameren investors.

Diana Oleskevich works for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.  The sisters are part of a group of five institutional investors calling on Ameren to clean up their coal ash disposal procedures.

Oleskevich says Ameren's claim that its 35 coal ash storage ponds comply with current regulations does not satisfy her concerns.

Ameren Missouri

Legislation that would allow Missouri utility customers to be billed for a site permit for a second nuclear reactor may be dead for the session.

The measure had recently been added to a separate bill dealing with utility deposits and the Office of Public Counsel.

(via Flickr/Mark and Allegra)

IL residents can weigh in on redistricting

Residents of the Metro East will have an opportunity to voice their opinions today on how state lawmakers should redraw Illinois'  Congressional and state legislative districts.

A Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspection team is at Ameren Corp.'s Callaway nuclear plant near Fulton after concerns were raised about lubrication of an auxiliary feedwater pump.

An Ameren spokesman says the inspection is unrelated to heightened concerns at nuclear plants following the damage to the plant in Japan.

The NRC says an oil sample taken Feb. 8 showed the auxiliary pump might have been inadequately lubricated.