Ameren | St. Louis Public Radio


Mo. regulators OK $172M rate increase for Ameren

Jul 13, 2011
(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.

Morning headlines: Thursday, July 7, 2011

Jul 7, 2011
(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.

Missouri lagging behind neighbors in wind economy

Jun 23, 2011
(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.

Morning headlines: Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May 24, 2011
(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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 21, 2011 - Opponents of the legislative effort to allow utilities to collect money from customers to help pay for a site permit for a possible future nuclear power plant plan to hold a protest rally early Thursday outside Ameren's shareholders meeting in Powell Hall.

The rally is being held despite the opinion of the bill's handler in the Senate that it likely won't get through the chamber before the session ends May 13.

(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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 20, 2011 - A bill to allow Ameren Missouri and a consortium of energy companies to recoup the costs of a site permit for a possible nuclear power plant appears dead for this year, according to a St. Louis senator who handled the bill.

The legislation would have authorized utility customers to pay roughly $45 million for an early site permit, which proponents say could pave the way for a new nuclear reactor in Callaway County. Legislative action is needed because of a law approved by voters in 1976, which restricts utility companies from passing along on construction costs to consumers. It's commonly known as CWIP.

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.

NRC looks at lubrication concern at Callaway nuclear plant

Mar 21, 2011

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.

(courtesy Ameren)

In the wake of the nuclear reactor crisis in Japan, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill says the United States should re-evaluate the risks of nuclear energy and make smart decisions going forward.

Workers in Japan are trying to prevent a nuclear meltdown by cooling overheating reactors damaged by Friday's earthquake and tsunami.

McCaskill says Ameren Missouri's Callaway Nuclear Plant is safer because it's a "pressurized water reactor", not a "boiling water reactor" like the one in Japan.

Ameren to U.S. district court: dismiss EPA lawsuit

Mar 15, 2011

Ameren Missouri is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed against the company by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

The suit filed in January alleges that Ameren violated the Clean Air Act by making multi-million-dollar modifications to its coal-fired power plant in Festus without installing required pollution controls and obtaining the necessary permits.

(Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio)

Good morning! Here are some of today's starting headlines:

  • A State Senate committee spent several hours last night (Wednesday) discussing legislation that would allow utility companies in Missouri to charge customers for a site permit for a proposed nuclear power plant.  The reactor would be built by St. Louis-based Ameren Missouri and would be located next to the company’s reactor near Fulton.  The price tag for the site permit is around $40 million.  Opponents included Jean Blackwood of the Sierra Club:

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 3, 2011 - When lawmakers considered repealing a voter-approved measure in 2009 prohibiting utility companies from passing on construction costs to consumers, then-Sen. Joan Bray said interests pushing the measure "overreached."

"There were too many angles in this bill that gave too many people something to hate in it," said Bray in 2009, who at the time represented a state Senate district in St. Louis County.

Morning headlines: Monday, Feb. 28, 2011

Feb 28, 2011

  • Parts of Missouri are cleaning up after strong storms swept across the state overnight. The storms may have resulted in a few tornadoes late last night and early this morning. High winds knocked down power lines and trees in parts of the St. Louis area. There were no reports of injuries. Wind gusts of up to 70 mph were common in the St. Louis area.
  • Crews with Ameren Missouri are working to restore power to thousands of customers throughout Missouri.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 24, 2011 - Financial incentives from the federal government and local power companies make 2011 a good time for Missourians consider solar energy. The Missouri Clean Energy Initiative, passed overwhelmingly in 2008 as Proposition C, requires that 15 percent of the state's electrical power come from renewable sources by 2021.

Coal ash landfill controversy continues in Franklin County

Feb 23, 2011
Ameren Missouri's largest coal-fired power plant in Labadie, Missouri.
File photo | Veronique LaCapra I St. Louis Public Radio

In the small Franklin County town of Labadie, Missouri, about 35 miles west of St. Louis, a debate is raging over what to do with millions of tons of coal ash.

The dispute is pitting area residents against the utility company Ameren – and putting Franklin County’s commissioners in the middle of the fight.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 19, 2011 - WASHINGTON - Missouri and Illinois ranked among "the 10 worst states for carbon dioxide pollution" from coal-fired power plants last year, a new report says. And the CO2 emissions from both states increased between 2000 and 2010.

The study also says that the levels of sulfur-dioxide emissions in Missouri slightly increased from 2000 to 2010, although those emissions -- which are related to acid rain -- had declined by about a third over the previous decade, after clean-air regulations were enacted to require "scrubbers" and other technology to remove the chemical.

EPA responds to Senator Roy Blunt: Ameren lawsuit justified

Feb 15, 2011

EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks says the federal government is confident Ameren Missouri violated the Clean Air Act at its Rush Island power plant near Festus.

Brooks was responding to a letter sent to the EPA last month by Senator Roy Blunt.

In the letter, Blunt defended Ameren and accused the EPA of overreaching its authority in order to “broadly penalize the use of coal in the United States.”

Winter storm information and resources

Jan 31, 2011

Dealing with the aftermath of this winter storm? We have information and resources to help.

Also, if you have some photos of your winter storm experience to share, post them here.

Follow other news and weather-related updates with us on Twitter: @stlpublicradio

  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that business groups are happy about Missouri Governor Jay Nixon's proposal to grant partial tax amnesty to those who owe back taxes. Nixon wants the state to waive half the interest and 100 percent of the penalties on delinquent taxes for those who pay during a designated amnesty period.

Rates rising for Ameren Mo. natural gas customers

Jan 20, 2011

Natural gas customers of Ameren Missouri soon will see their rates go up, but not by much.

The monthly bill for a typical residential customer is projected to rise by about $3.30 under a plan approved by state regulators.

The increase will take effect Feb. 1.

The Missouri Public Service Commission said Thursday the rate agreement will generate about $5.6 million annually for Ameren Missouri. The company had requested an $11.9 million rate increase.

U.S. sues Ameren Missouri over Festus power plant

Jan 12, 2011

Ameren Missouri and the U.S. Department of Justice are at odds over environmental concerns.

The federal government filed a lawsuit today against the energy company for violations of the Clean Air Act.

The suit alleges that Ameren made multi-million-dollar modifications to its coal-fired power plant in Festus (map image above), without installing required pollution controls and obtaining the necessary permits.

The government wants Ameren to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions, to address any harm caused by the violations, and to pay civil penalties.

Ameren spokesperson Susan Gallagher says the company did nothing wrong.

"We believe that the position that the EPA is taking will impose significant costs on Ameren customers, especially in tough economic times."

Gallagher says the modifications at the Festus plant consisted of routine maintenance projects allowed under the Clean Air Act.

This diagram is an excerpt of “figure 1” from Ameren’s “Detailed Site Investigation,” showing the location of the company’s proposed coal ash landfill.
Ameren Missouri

Ameren operates a coal-fired power plant in Labadie, Mo., about 35 miles west of St. Louis, and wants to build a 400-acre landfill near the plant to store coal waste.

Some Franklin County residents are definitely not happy about a possible landfill in the Missouri River floodplain and the effects it might have on drinking water.

Tonight they will once again be voicing their opposition to proposed regulations that would allow Ameren to go ahead with their plan.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 22, 2010 - A new proposal that could restart the process for a second nuclear power plant in Missouri does not necessarily mean that an older plan -- where customers could pay for building the plant before it generates electricity -- is dead.

Ameren spokeswoman Susan Gallagher said Monday that the plan unveiled last week by Gov. Jay Nixon -- where electric customers could pay $40 million of the utility's costs seeking a permit for new plant in mid-Missouri -- is not really connected to efforts last year to overturn a ban on utilities being able to seek reimbursement from ratepayers for construction works in progress.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 23, 2010 -This week, as expected, the Franklin County Planning Commission postponed a decision on amending the county code to allow Ameren to install a controversial coal ash landfill in Labadie. The commission sent the amendments to a three-person review committee for further study. The planning commission will vote on the amendments Aug. 17. If they pass, they would be sent to Franklin County's highest legislative body, the county commission, for a final decision.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 21, 2010 - After losing a high-profile, high-powered effort last year to let utilities charge ratepayers for construction projects before they generate any power, a state representative from southwestern Missouri is trying again.

But this year, Rep. Ed Emery, R-Lamar, is carrying on the campaign without one of his biggest backers: AmerenUE.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 7, 2009 - In these tough economic times, it is imperative that our elected and appointed leaders in Washington bear in mind how every regulation they create or vote they cast affects the daily lives of their constituents. This is especially important over the next few months, as federal regulators and congressional representatives consider energy policy related to climate change. Their decisions will register on every electric bill, in every mailbox, across the nation.