NEW PLAN FOR AMEREN CUSTOMERS TO ASSIST WITH ELECTRIC RATE INCREASES
AmerenIP announced on Monday a new plan that substantially enhances an earlier phase-in proposal filed in October. The Customer Elect Plan will be available to 90 percent of Ameren Illinois customers and will provide options to soften the impact of the 40 percent rate increase beginning January 2, 2007. Customers can choose to pay the full amount of higher electricity costs in 2007 or receive a 14 percent phase-in each year, for the next 3 years. This will result in a $9 per month increase to the average consumer. With the phase-in, the deferred amount, which is the amount between the lower interest rate and the full 40 percent interest rate not being currently paid by the customer, would be charged a 3.25 percent fee, per month, for the phase-in period.
Ameren's Erica Abbett explained that these increases are unavoidable, as the Illinois division of Ameren owns no generation, they are just simply a delivery service and have to purchase energy from the competitive market. These prices are then passed to the customer dollar-for-dollar.
If the Illinois Commerce Commission approves Ameren's proposal, customers will have until August 21, 2007 to enroll. All customers will pay the full 40 percent rate increase through April, but will receive credit on their May bills for the deferred amount in those months if they enroll by April 10, 2007.
TOYS FOR JOY DISTRIBUTION DAY IS FRIDAY
The Toys for Joy distribution day is Friday (Dec. 15) from 9am-12pm at the First Presbyterian Church in Greenville for families who signed up this year. Reverend Ken Bryant told WGEL that parents will be guided one by one to select toys, socks, underwear, and other small items for their children. Volunteers will be available to assist parents with questions.
DOCTOR WARNER RESIGNS FROM GREENVILLE MEDICAL ASSOCIATES
Tricia (Gifford) Warner, M.D., of Greenville Medical Associates, announced that after careful consideration she has decided to discontinue her medical practice in Greenville. She sites prohibitive costs of medical malpractice insurance in Illinois as the reason for her decision. Her final day of service in Greenville will be Friday, December 29. Warner says she regrets not being able to deliver those patients whom she has established a relationship with and will miss all of her patients and the staff at Greenville Medical Associates. All of Dr. Warner's patients have been notified by mail and infants will continued to be delivered in the Greenville Regional Family Birth Center by OB/GYN Ramon G. Lopez, M.D
STEPHENS HOSTS HEARING ON OUTAGES
What would it cost to have bulletproof or should the term be tree proof electric service? That was a big part of the discussion last night at Greenville City Hall as State Representative Ron Stephens held the first of several public meetings to hear questions and ideas from Citizens recently affected by the power outages caused by the November 30th ice storm. According to one Ameren official the cost to deliver underground electrical service to every household could be as high as $50,000 a customer. Dave Barbey of Southwestern Electric pointed out that even if you have underground utilities today somewhere in the system your electric is transmitted on above ground lines.
Another question concerned the more aggressive use of tree crews to trim limbs away from power lines. It was pointed out that several consumers in Missouri actually won law suits to keep utility companies from trimming their trees. The consensus of the meeting was an expression of gratitude to the linemen who worked long hours to restore power. Stephens told the group he planned to push for tax breaks for consumers purchasing generators and he was in favor of putting transmission wires underground. In case you thought you saw a familiar face or two on TV last night the meeting did draw a crew from a St. Louis Station.
FOURTH ANNUAL CAMPAIGN IN ILLINOIS TO KEEP KIDS WARM AND SAFE
The Keep Our Kids Warm and Safe campaign was launcheD Monday through the Illinois Governor's office. Started in 2003, the annual campaign collects winter clothing and car seats for children who need them the most. Citizens, businesses and state employees can donate new or gently used mittens, hats, scarves and new car seats. As they come in, donations are taken to charities in communities around the state. Last years efforts netted more than one million clothing donations from thousands of contributors. To learn where items can be donated, visit www.il.gov/kidsafe.cfm.
SHIMKUS SUPPORTS EXTENDING TAX RELIEF, ABANDONED MINE LAND PROGRAM, DRILLING FOR ENERGY, AND FIXING MEDICARE PLANS
Congressman John Shimkus voted for the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006. This legislation contains major provisions on several issues of importance including tax relief, energy issues, and Medicare physician payments. According to Shimkus several tax provisions expired at the end of 2005 or will expire at the end of this year and these provisions are extended through 2007. Shimkus also noted that this legislation also contains provisions related to energy, including modifying the clean coal gasification tax credit; extending tax credits for certain renewable resources, for new energy efficient homes and others. These provisions would be extended through 2008. The bill was passed with a strong bipartisan majority and the Senate is expected to take the bill up on its final day of the 109th Congress.