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Ameren announces one billion in upgrades

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Ameren's Sioux Power Plant on the Missouri River.

By Adam Allington, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – AmerenUE has announced plans to invest one billion dollars over the next three years to upgrade service in Missouri.

Industry analysts say that will result in rate increases in the near future.

Ameren has been the subject of repeated criticism stemming from several prolonged outages after storms last summer and winter.

"We've heard what our customers have said," says Tom Voss, President and CEO of Ameren. "They said they want more reliable service, they want cleaner air and they've told us that having the lowest rates in the country isn't necessarily the answer."

Ameren will spend 300 million to bury power lines, 200 million for hiring new linemen and tree-trimming and 500 million in environmental upgrades to their Sioux Power Plant in St. Charles County.

Over half of the upgrades are required to meet federal and state guidelines.

The announcement comes one year after customers were hit with prolonged power outages last summer.

Jeff Davis is Chairman of the Missouri Public Service Commission.

"Essentially it's 500 million dollars worth of cost that the federal government has ordered them to incur just so you can get the same service you get right now."

In addition to the emissions upgrades, Ameren will also spend 500 million on burying power lines, hiring more linemen and tree-trimming.

The PSC approved a rate increase of 46 million dollars in May of this year that was down from the 361 million Ameren was requesting.

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