The Illinois Commerce Commission recently approved new charges for Ameren Illinois electric and natural gas customers that refuse advanced meters when they become available.
Advanced meters communicate customer energy usage information electronically, eliminating costs associated with reading meters manually. Customers will be notified before upgrades take place in their area. Meter upgrades began this summer and will continue through 2019.
Customers who refuse the meters, or do not allow Ameren access to make the upgrade their old meter, will be assessed a $20 monthly charge after their area is converted. The charge will be $24 for customers with both natural gas and electric that decline the advanced meter. Any customer with an advanced meter that requests it to be removed, will also be assessed a one-time fee of $70.
The ICC determined the charges were reasonable and reflected the additional costs necessary to read or service non-advanced meters, the Commission said in a prepared statement.
Ameren will attempt to contact a customer multiple times before an advanced meter refusal charge appears on a customer’s bill. If a customer wishes to avoid the advanced meter refusal charge, the customer may contact Ameren Illinois to schedule a meter exchange to an advanced meter at no cost.
Ameren Illinois has launched a consumer education program to inform customers before meter upgrades take place in their area. The company is also working with local government and civic leaders, and non-profit partners to educate customers on the benefits of advanced meters.
The Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA) requires Ameren Illinois to install advanced meters and the company’s current plan is to deploy nearly 780,000 electric meters to customers in its service area. Ameren Illinois will also upgrade 468,000 natural gas meters.