ST. LOUIS - The Missouri Legislature passed a measure Wednesday that could allow Ameren and other utility companies to improve the electric grid on our dime.
Critics of the bill warn that all of our utility bills could skyrocket.
"This is a horrible bill for consumers,” said Cara Spencer with the Consumers Council of Missouri.
She's been watching how this legislation will impact our wallets. She says it could mean we all see a 5 percent increase in our electric bills each year.
That's because the bill will allow companies like Ameren to be more flexible on when and how they change their rates to support infrastructure investment.
"Ameren contends that this will allow them to modernize the electric grid because they can make adjustments when they need to,” Jo Mannies with St. Louis Public Radio said.
She’s covered this legislation from the get-go and she says Ameren is touting rate caps and an effort to lower our bills.
"Ameren is promising all rates will go down within 90 days,” she said.
So will we see a rate increase or decrease? We may not know that answer until a year or two from now, when we can see what happens over time.
The bill now heads to the governor's desk, and he is expected to sign it into law.
Ameren Missouri issued the following statement:
"Today's action by the Missouri House of Representatives to pass SB 564 will accelerate modernization of the electric grid for a smarter, more resilient and secure grid while providing our customers greater stability through rate cuts and caps. This legislation will result in an almost 5% reduction in electric rates within 90 days after being signed into law to reflect federal tax cuts. In working to modernize the electric grid, lawmakers and stakeholders have crafted a bipartisan compromise that will greatly improve Missouri's energy infrastructure for the benefit of our customers and the entire state."