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Global issues, supply constraints push utility bills up

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PEORIA (WEEK) – As if winter wasn’t bad enough, this could be a costly summer when it comes to the customer’s electric bill.

“We get a lot of calls from people saying ‘I was able to pay my bills last year and I’m having a particularly hard time now,'” said Jim Chilsen, spokesman for the Citizens Utility Board.

Vice President of Regulatory Policy and Energy Supply Jim Blessing said they don’t see gas bills going down anytime soon.

“We really want our customers to be aware that this is happening and to be prepared for it,” Blessing said.

“It’s going to be expensive to freshen up your homes this summer,” Blessing added.

Several factors are at play. Global issues such as the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, supply constraints and the production of renewable energy from solar and wind power not filling the gap left by the closure of power plants in fossil fuels drive up electricity prices.

“Our recent capacity auction at MISO released results last week. Our region’s capacity price has gone from $5 to $237,” Blessing said.

For Ameren Illinois customers, the cost of power is approximately one-half to two-thirds of their bill and is passed on directly dollar-for-dollar with no markup.

“These over the years have gone up or down and it’s just part of the standard process required by the pricing structure,” Blessing said.

Citizens Utility Board spokesman Jim Chilsen said one solution is for customers to contact their utility providers like Ameren for energy efficiency programs to combat price hikes and practice l energy efficiency at home.

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