FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- July 30, 2020
Contact: Kevin Kelly (573) 751-9300
PSC Approves Agreement in Ameren Missouri Case
JEFFERSON CITY---The Missouri Public Service Commission has approved an agreement in a case where Union Electric Company d/b/a Ameren Missouri sought a variance from some of its tariffs and some of the Commission’s rules allowing Ameren Missouri to implement its Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI).
The agreement approved by the Commission addresses enhanced disconnection notice content and communications, disconnection timing, outreach to elderly and disabled customers, medical equipment registry enhancements, a dedicated web page, reconnection and opt-out fees, disconnection notices and call scripts and Ameren Missouri’s Keeping Cool Program. The agreement was submitted by Ameren Missouri, the Public Service Commission Staff, Office of the Public Counsel, AARP and the Consumers Council of Missouri.
Under the agreement, Ameren Missouri will provide enhanced disconnection notice content for residential customers so that qualifying customers can explore available options for assistance. Those options include: 1) Medical Equipment Registry (MER); 2) Medical hardship payment deferrals; 3) Registry for provision of notice regarding customer account to third-parties and 4) Information regarding payment options such as online payments, pay-by-phone options, payments through Ameren Missouri’s mobile device apps, payments at approved kiosks, etc.
There will also be an enhanced disconnect notice communications schedule. For all but MER customers, Ameren Missouri will provide the following notices of disconnection: 1) A written notice provided by mail 10 days before disconnection of service; 2) A text and/or email alert as well as two outbound automated call attempts 2 to 9 days before disconnection; and 3) A third outbound automated call attempt 24 hours before disconnection of service.
For MER customers, Ameren Missouri will provide the following notices of disconnection: 1) A written notice by mail 15 days and then again 7 days before disconnection; 2) A text and/or email alert as well as two outbound automated call attempts 2 to 7 days before disconnection; and 3) A third outbound automated call attempt 24 hours before disconnection of service.
Under the agreement, all disconnection notices by automated phone call will have a dial option allowing customers to connect to immediate payment options. In addition, if a customer has indicated they want a third-party to be notified when their account is subject to potential disconnection, that third-party will also receive the same written notices and automated calls as the customer.
The agreement also addresses outreach to elderly and disabled customers. Ameren Missouri will work with the Family Support Division of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to coordinate outreach to “elderly” and “disabled” customers in order to promote programs and options such as:
• Third party notification
• Keeping Current and Keeping Cool
• Medical Equipment Registry
Ameren Missouri will also reach out to local public health authorities, area agencies on aging or other relevant entities to provide information regarding available programs and options. In addition, Ameren Missouri will create and launch, as soon as practical, a web page containing information specifically aimed at vulnerable customers.
Under the agreement, Ameren Missouri will establish an AMI reconnection fee of $5.00. The existing $30.00 fee will remain in effect for customers who do not use AMI or where an AMI meter is installed but not fully utilized because the customer has chosen to opt-out. Ameren Missouri has also agreed to reduce the one-time set-up charge for AMI opt-out customers to $100 and to also reduce the monthly
non-standard meter charge for AMI customers to $40.00 a month.
In May, the Commission approved a partial agreement in this case which addressed variances related to customer meter readings, beginning and ending meter readings and estimation routine.
Ameren Missouri provides electric service to approximately 1.28 million customers in Missouri.