Ameren got its start in south eastern Illinois in 1902 as the Mattoon City Railway Streetcar company. Like any interurban railway at the time, it generated its own electric power to run its trolleys. In 1910, the railway reorganized into the Central Illinois Public Service Company (CIPS) and its success continued. By 1921, the company moved from moved from Mattoon to downtown Springfield. Two years later, it merged with the the Middle West Power Company and acquired a power station in western part of the state on the Mississippi River. By 1933, CIPS had grown large enough to sell off its electric railway operations to focus solely on being an electric utility.
In 1952, in order to more effectively meet regional demand, CIPS joined the new Midwest Power Pool system with the Union Electric Company across the Mississippi River in Missouri as well as other regional utilities. CIPS and Union Electric's ties grew closer over the years and in 1995, the two merged to form Ameren Corporation.
When Illinois deregulated its electricity market in 1997, Ameren sold its fleet of power plants to private owners. It then switched to being an electricity-delivery only utility. As other states also deregulated, many other power companies began consolidating their generation and selling off their utility holdings. In 2003, AES Corporation sold its Peoria-based Central Illinois Light Company (CILCO) to Ameren. Likewise, in 2004, Dynenergy also sold Illinois Power Company (IP) to Ameren. The company then reorganized its three Illinois utility companies to become Ameren Illinois Company in 2010.
Currently, the Ameren Illinois deliver electricity to more than 1,200 communities in all or part of 85 of Illinois' 102 counties. Its service territory is split into three rate zones corresponding to the service territories of the three former Illinois operating companies; Zone I (the former CIPS), Zone II (the former CILCO) and Zone III (the former IP).
Ameren also works to strengthen the communities it servers through a range of corporate citizenship initiatives. These include educational school programs and offering energy-focused internships, energy assistance programs, community sponsorships, as well as partnering with local businesses.
Ameren Service Territory
Ameren Illinois delivers electricity to 1.2 million customers in some or all of these Illinois Counties:
Ameren serves these cities:
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In Illinois, electricity utility service territories may overlap in some zip codes. If the tool reports that it has found more than one serving your zip code, don't worry! Just choose your local utility from those listed.
You'll then get to see the listing of all the energy suppliers' plans available in your area, along with rates, term lengths, and links to more detany information.
How to Start New Ameren Service
Starting service with Ameren is easy and convenient. Just visit their web site to start your electric service. You can create your My Account online profile once your service has been activated.
Customers can also apply to start service by calling Ameren's customer service at 1-800-755-5000.
Be ready to supply:
- Service Address: The address where you want your service turned on or switched.
- The start date for electricity service.
- Your name and SSN as the primary account holder: You will need to provide a valid Social Security Number to open an account in your name/li>
- Your contact information such as a phone number, e-mail address, mailing address.
Once you have provided all of the required documentation, you should expect an acceptance or rejection within 48 business hours.
If your application is rejected, you have the right to obtain a written notification explaining why, plus an opportunity to rectify the issues to reapply. In Illinois, utility companies may deny your application for service if you owe them money for the same type of service at the same address or a different address.
Will I Need to Pay a Deposit?
In Illinois, no utility can require any new residential customer to pay a security deposit as a condition of receiving utility service. However, the utility can require a deposit if ONE of the following applies:
- Your previous service was disconnected for non-payment, and you did not pay the final bill.
- If you are already a customer and you had four late payments in the past 12 months.
- You are applying for new service for an address where the former customer was disconnected for non-payment and they still reside at the same address.
- Your credit score is below a predetermined minimum or you have no credit history.
- Your meter was tampered with at your previous service.
If you must pay a deposit -- Ameren must notify you in writing no later than 45 days after your application for service is approved. IL law states that deposits cannot be greater than an estimated two months usage.
Customers don't need to pay the deposit all at once. You can rquest the utility to divide your security deposit into at least three installments. Ameren can hold deposits for residential service for 12 months. If the customer pays their bill in full and on time for 12 consecutive months, the utility will refund the deposit plus interest.
Understand Ameren Delivery and Supply Charges
In Illinois, residential customers pay for both the cost to deliver their electricity as well as for the amount of electricity supply that they use.
Understand Ameren Zone Charges
On October 1, 2010 Ameren's three Illinois operating companies merged to become Ameren Illinois Company. However, the Ameren Illinois service territory is split into three rate zones corresponding to the service territories of the three former Illinois operating companies.
|Zone I||AmerenCIPS service territory. Major cities include Alton, Quincy, Carbondale, East St. Louis, Effingham, Mattoon and Macomb.|
|Zone II||AmerenCILCO service territory. Major cities include Peoria, Springfield, Pekin, East Peoria and Lincoln.|
|Zone III||AmerenIP, service territory. Major cities Major cities include Decatur, Champaign, Urbana, Bloomington, Danville, Belleville and Galesburg.|
Starting around 2016, Ameren began re-aligninng the rate structures and charges of its three legacy companies. Illinois electric customers will now find that distribution and default supply charges in each rate zone are now practically identical.
What Are Ameren PTC Charges?
When deregulation began in Illinois, all utilities that wanted to participate in consumer choice had to sell off their generators and limit their business to energy delivery. However, the Illinois Commerce Commission requires these utilities to provide electricity supply at a default rate to customers in their service territory who don't shop for an alternate retail electricity supplier. As a result, these utilities must purchase their electricity supply for the default rate from generator companies.
The Illinois Power Agency (IPA) oversees Ameren's basic generation service (or default) rates. These rates represent the basic generation supply costs that are passed directly through the utility onto their customers without mark up. This default rate is also called the "Price to Compare" or PTC.
Price to Compare (PTC)
The PTC default rate represents the actual price (generation + transmission) the utility pays for the electricity. In other words, it not only includes the generator company's price for making the electricity but also the cost to transmit it from power stations over high tension power lines to Ameren's local electrical switch yards. From there, the electricity is distributed throughout the Ameren local electrical grid for delivery to homes.
The IPA administers a competitive bidding process each year to line up supply from generators for Ameren and other utilities in Illinois. Electricity supply rates are based upon market conditions during the billing period and will vary depending on where you live or do business. The Ameren supply charge varies based on forecasted daily market prices. Consequently, the PTC electricity rates change on average every three to five months.
The PTC rate includes Ameren's “Supply Cost Adjustment.” The Supply Cost Adjustment is a fixed charge that allows Ameren to recover costs associated with procurement, working capital and uncollectible charges. The charge amount is controlled by the ICC and only changes after the annual power supply procurement update, or when the ICC changes delivery service rates or issues other orders.
The PTC rate also includes Ameren's Purchased Electricity Adjustment ("PEA"). The PEA is a charge or credit on your bill to true up any difference between what Ameren Illinois previously paid to acquire electric supply and what Ameren Illinois previously charged its customers for that electric supply. The PEA is calculated each month and so affects your bill differently each month.
Because electricity demand fluctuates due to seasonal weather, Ameren's Supply charge rates can also vary seasonally; low some months, higher the next. The Ameren Illinois rate for the electric supply during the summer months (June through September) is usually higher compared to October through May.
All this means that with the default PTC rate, you can never be too sure what you'll pay from one month to the next.
Ameren Current PTC Residential Rates:
4.821 cents per kWh in Ameren Zone 1, expires 12/31/2021
4.821 cents per kWh in Ameren Zone 2, expires 12/31/2021
4.821 cents per kWh in Ameren Zone 3, expires 12/31/2021
How Much Do Ameren Charges Cost?
The US Energy Information Agency reports that in 2019, Illinois' residential customers used an average of about 709 kWh each month.
Ameren Illinois divides the year into summer rates (June through September) and non-summer rates. During the non-summer months, Ameren charges a different residential distribution rate for any usage over 800 kWh per month. Therefore, an average, non-summer, residential PTC bill in Ameren Zone I roughly breaks down like this:
|Non-Summer Rate per 709 kWh Used||Total Monthly Customer and Meter Charges||Total|
|PTC Supply Rate
(excluding other surcharges)
|Monthly Distribution Charges
(excluding riders and other surcharges)
|$0.03087 per kWh||10.55||$32.44|
Understand Illinois Energy Choice
Illinois electric consumers are free to choose to buy electricity from Alternate Retail Electricity Suppliers (ARES). These alternative suppliers shop deals with different electricity generators on the wholesale market to offer competitive rates. As such, their rates are not controlled by ICC nor do they include the same complicated supply surcharges that Ameren does in its monthly PTC rate. This way, ARES are able to offer competitively priced fixed rate plans for a variety of term lengths.
Though it can seem confusing, shopping electricity plans is an easy process. The trick is finding the one that meets your needs.
That's why retail energy suppliers in Illinois offer two types of plans:
Your Energy Usage and Your Ameren Bill
While your energy usage habits are unique to you, any Illinois native will tell you that winters are long and bitterly cold while summers can be hot, hazy, and humid. While your biggest energy usage will usually follow the weather, remember that all those other domestic activities, like cooking and cleaning, also add to your monthly bill.
Most homes in Illionois rely on natural gas for heating. In 2009, only 17% of homes in the state rely on electricity for heat. However, in recent years, national home building trends increasingly rely on electric heating systems.
Most households in the midwest do use air conditioning during the summer months. But while air conditioning use only makes up 2% of a home's total annual energy usage, Illinois residents spend on average 5% of their annual energy costs on air conditioning. About 25% of Illinois households have window or wall-mounted AC systems but about 65% have central AC.
The remainder of energy use goes to water heating, refrigeration, lighting, electronics, clothes dryers, cooking, and small appliances.
Want to learn more about your home energy usage? Ameren customers can track 24 months of their home's electric usage plus other relevant information on each monthly bill or by logging on to your Ameren account.
The most effective way to cut your energy bills is to reduce your usage by sealing your doors and windows against winter and summer drafts. Adding insulation to your attic, sealing and insulating your basement, and purchasing a programmable or smart thermostat also improve your home's energy efficiency and help cut your electric bills. Your utility company can provide a wealth of resources and may offer programs to help you improve your home's energy performance.
Understand Your Ameren Bill
The typical four page Ameren bill contains many details that can be confusing to customers. However, there's lots of useful information to help you better understand your usage and what actually goes into your Ameren rates. Below, we summarize the most important items you need to understand on a sample Ameren Electric bill.
Ameren Sample Bill
- A: Statement State. This section shows your current charges for Ameren, the date the bill was issued, the date that payment is due, and the amount of your previous payment.
- B: Service Summary. This shows the 10 digit Ameren Illinois account number for the customer and the service address covered on the statement.
- C: Current Charge Summary. Here you can see the current amounts due for electricity and natural gas service and the total amount due.
- D: Account Messages. This area is used for important messages from Ameren Illinois about your account.
- E: Electric Usage History. Here you can see your electricity usage for the past 12 months and how it compared to the average temperature for that month. At right, you can compare your average daily electric usage for the current period against last month and last year.
- F: Gas Usage History. Similar to your electricity usage history above, this section shows your natural gas usage for the past 12 months.
- G: Payment Stub - Total charges. If you mail your bill, be sure to include this payment stub with your payment. This section shows the total amount due for your Ameren Illinois service. It shows your 10 digit Ameren Illinois account, the current total charges on due for this month's usage, and the date the payment is due.
- H: Payment Stub. This section shows the address for your Ameren Illinois service and where you can mail your payment to.
- I: Payment Details. Your electricity usage details are found here on Page 4 beginning with the date and amount of your previous month's payment.
- J: Electricity Service Billing Detail. Here you can see the meter read details and amounts for the current billing period, including whether the meter readng for actual or estimated, the dates of period, the number of days, and the total usage.
- K: Electric Delivery Charges. This section displays more detail about your delivery charges and breaks down the customer charge, the smart meter charge, and whether the rate is summer of non-summer.
- L: Electric Supply Charges This section displays more detail about your Ameren Illinois supply charges (including Ameren's Supply Cost Adjustment, PEA amounts, PTC transmission charges). If your generation supply comes from an Alternate Retail Electricity Supplier, then here you will see their name and their charges listed.
- M: Electricity Supply Price to Compare. This final section details displays information about the current Price to Compare, including the rate amount per kWh and whether it is a summer or non-summer rate. In this way, customers are able to stay informed about the most current competitive electricity rates.
Compare Ameren Rates
Ameren Coupons, Energy Promotions, Discounts, Rebates and Promo Codes
As your local electric utility, Ameren offers several rebate and energy efficiency programs to help customers save money off their monthly bill by upgrading their home's energy performance. Some programs also offer money-saving incentives while others could make paying your monthly bills much easier during those expensive winter and summer months.
|Program Name||Program Type||Benefit|
|Residential Energy Assessment & Upgrades||Energy Efficiency Programs||
Ameren offers two energy assessment programs to residential customers:
|Appliance Rebate Program||Energy Efficiency Rebate Program||
Ameren will give you $50 to recycle your old, working refrigerator or freezer. They pick it up, free of charge, and properly recycle it. Your old refrigerator or freezer must be:
|EnergyStar Rebate Program||Energy Efficiency Rebate Programs||
Ameren residential customers can apply for rebates when they purchase EnergyStar qualifying appliances. These include window air conditions, heat pump water heaters, laundry washers and dryers, freezers, refrigerators, smart thermostats, and more.
|Heating and Cooling Rebate Program||Energy Efficiency Rebate Programs||
Ameren heating and cooling rebates make it easier to invest in efficient heating and cooling equipment for your home and save on your energy costs in the process. Great rebates are available for the follwing systems:
|Smart Thermostat Rebates||Energy Efficiency Rebate Program||
Customers can receive a $100 coupon to redeem at participating retailers at checkout to instantly save on qualifying EnergyStar certified models. (Please note that propane heating systems do not qualify.)
|\Warm Neighbors Cool Friends||Bill payment assistance||
Ameren offers income-qualified households a way to weatherize their homes thus lower their energy bills. The program requires that customers share in the weatherization improvement costs and make matching payments on their energy bills.
Customers can apply by contacting a energy assistance agency in their area.
|Ameren Payment Arrangements||Bill payment assistance||
Ameren offers payment arrangements to allow residential customers to pay an overdue account balance while remaining connected. To set up a payment agreement, Customers must provide a down payment. From April 1 until November 30, 25% of the amount past due is required. From December 1 until March 31, a payment of 10% of the amount past due is required.
|Residential Hardship||Bill payment assistance||
If you're a residential customer that has exhausted all other forms of assistance and is facing a hardship due to job loss, illness, military deployment, disability, or are a senior citizen on a fixed income, you may be eligible. As long as funding remains available, eligible recipients can apply once every two years for grants of up to $500 toward heating expenses. Applicants must contact the Community Action Agency nearest to you.
|Limited Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)||Bill payment assistance||
LIHEAP provides both regular and emergency financial grants to eligible households to help pay heating and/or utility bills. LIHEAP benefits are funded by the federal government and can be accessed through the Illinois Department of Commerce.
Qualifying customers will have payments are made directly to the utility on their behalf, usually from October through March.
|Ameren Illinois Military Support||Bill payment assistance for veterans||
Ameren helps activated and deployed members of the U.S. Armed Forces, National Guard, Reserves and honorably discharged veterans with paying their electric bills. The program provides energy grants of up to $100 to help pay electric bills for qualifying active members of the military and disabled veterans.
Read Ameren Reviews
Since Ameren serves a large midwest market segment, Illinois residential customers throughout the state can get a better picture of how good a job it does by comparing it to similar sized utilities. Ameren is accredited with the BBB and the utility came in second for J.D. Power's 2020 utility residential customer satisfaction study.
|IL Energy Ratings Score||Better Business Bureau||J.D. Power 2020 Electricity Utility Study|
of 1000 pts
How Do I Get the Cheapest Ameren Rate?
Shopping for a new Ameren alternative retail electricity plan can seem bewildering at first. Once you understand how it works, though, it's an easy and straightforward process. That said, you should have these three things with you when you shop for electricity.
- Your current bill. Your past usage per billing period can help you estimate a how much a plan might cost you each month.
- The current Ameren PTC rate. Knowing the current Ameren supply price lets you compare rates offered by Retail energy suppliers. This way, you can get a better feel for what suppliers are offering, for how long, and if any of their incentives make their price work for your family's need.
- Your Ameren customer account number. Your 10 digit account number is at the top of your bill. Having this handy lets you sign up with an Alternative Retail Supplier right away.
Ameren Shopping Questions
The best way for a IL energy customer to avoid making a bad choice it to ask the right questions. That way, you can learn exactly the information that can save you money. When you shop for electricity service in Illinois, always be sure to ask these important questions:
- Is the rate variable or is it fixed?
- How long does the plan contract term run?
- Does the plan include any recurring monthly charges?
- Is the rate competitive with the current Ameren supply rate annual average? Remember that Ameren's rate changes monthly!
- Does the supplier offer any customer incentives or rewards programs?
- What happens when the contract with the ARES expires?
Other Commonly Asked Illinois Electricity Questions:
Who bills me? Most suppliers include their charges on your Ameren bill, but some send you their own bill. So be sure to ask.
What are the Terms of Service? In Illinois, energy choice plans must include Terms of Service that explain and identify specific charges and any fees a customer will face when they sign up for an electricity plan. Not all suppliers have the same terms. That's why all Illinois energy choice customers should read and understand the terms of service and contract summary for any plan they are interested in before they sign on to the plan.
What is the Right of Rescission? According to Illinois Law, residential customers have the right to rescind or cancel an agreement with a retail electric supplier "within 10 calendar days after the electric utility processes the enrollment request".
What are early termination fees? Before 2020, switching retail suppliers before a contract ended used to involve paying early termination fees. However, Illinois electricity retail customers can now terminate their contracts with alternative retail electric suppliers at any time without any termination fees or penalties!
Where can I find more information on my usage? Ameren customers can request 24 months of their energy usage free of charge. This is most easily available through your Ameren online account.
Compare Ameren Electricity Rates in Your Area
Bill Questions? Electricity Out? Contact Ameren!
Having problems or interruptions with your Ameren electricity? Here's the proper people to call.
Ameren Billing Problems
First thing to do is contact Ameren Customer Service at 1-800-755-5000 and learn what options you have. Have your account number ready. You can also apply for payment methods online through your Ameren account.
Consider Budget Billing: If you are constantly blind-sided by seasonally high bills, check out Ameren's budget billing options. These payment plan average out your electricity costs over the cost of the year. This ensures that customers aren't presented with unexpectedly high bills at peak-usuage times of the year.
Ameren Emergencies and Outages
All power lines are extremely dangerous! Never attempt to move a downed power line by yourself. Call 911 and then notifiy Ameren.
- Report downed powerlines and other safety hazards immediately to Ameren at 1-800-755-5000.
- You can also report downed lines or outages at Ameren's website.
- Check Ameren's current electric outages as they are being repaired.
Ameren Service Area Providers
|NextEra Energy Services||
|Sunwave Gas & Power||
|Santanna Energy Services||
|National Gas & Electric||