Peoria, Springfield and Decatur, IL, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- October 11, 2007 – Electric residential customers of the Ameren Illinois utilities (AmerenCILCO, AmerenCIPS and AmerenIP) are eligible to enroll in an optional program for real-time electricity pricing, called Power Smart Pricing. The program offers customers a choice in how they pay for electricity.

Power Smart Pricing may help customers save money by giving them access to hourly, market-based electricity prices. While these prices vary, often the market-based price of electricity is lower than the price under the standard residential rate. Customers can increase their savings by taking simple actions to conserve energy during the hours when prices rise.

Ameren has contracted the services of CNT Energy, a non-profit organization helping consumers and communities obtain the information and services they need to control energy costs, to administer the program. CNT Energy is a leader in real-time pricing, having launched the nation's first large-scale residential real-time pricing program in 2003. In February, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) approved CNT Energy as the real-time pricing program administrator for the Ameren Illinois utilities.

"We are pleased that residential customers have this added option for electric supply," says Stan Ogden, vice president of Customer Service and Public Relations for Ameren Illinois. "It allows customers to take an informed, active role in managing their electric use."

CNT Energy Director Anne Evens says, "Bringing real-time pricing to residential consumers is what we do, and Ameren Illinois customers who participate in the Power Smart Pricing program will benefit from CNT Energy's years of experience and past successes."

Beginning this month, CNT Energy will be mailing Power Smart Pricing information to many of Ameren Illinois' residential electric customers. The company will provide enhanced services to participants to help them make the most of their energy dollar. For example, CNT Energy will notify participants in advance when high hourly prices are anticipated, and will provide educational materials, personalized updates and online tools designed to help customers save energy.

The Power Smart Pricing program works as follows:

  • In contrast to the basic summer and winter rate customers typically pay for electric supply, real-time pricing allows customers to pay a fluctuating hourly price for electricity - a price driven by the market demand for energy.
  • Power Smart Pricing participants have access to price forecasts that can be used to guide their energy use, and potentially save them money.
  • CNT Energy will alert Power Smart Pricing participants in advance by email or phone any time the price of electricity is expected to be high.
  • Participating in Power Smart Pricing will not impact the amount of the Illinois General Assembly rate relief rebates or credits that customers receive. Program participants will receive the same amount that they would have otherwise received.
  • Customers will be required to remain on Power Smart Pricing for 12 months before they may switch to another supply option.
  • Customers will continue to receive their electric bill from their Ameren Illinois utility.

As energy delivery companies, Ameren's Illinois utilities do not profit from the sale of electricity. Whether customers choose real-time pricing or the basic summer and winter rate, the electric supply charges on your monthly bill represent a dollar-for-dollar pass-through of the prices the utility paid to obtain electricity. Under Illinois law, customers may purchase electricity from retail energy suppliers approved by the ICC or through their electric utility.

All Ameren Illinois utility customers, including those who select real-time pricing, will continue to pay delivery service charges approved by the ICC. These charges are for the utility to maintain the poles, wires and services required to deliver the electricity.

The Ameren Illinois utilities serve 1.2 million electric and more than 800,000 natural gas customers in Illinois.