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      Ameren holds public hearing on rate hike

      In an already poor economy the last thing anybody wants to see is a higher electric bill at the end of the month. Monday night, more than a hundred people came out to voice their opinion at a Public Service Commission hearing in downtown Jefferson City. They were there to fight a $376-million-dollar rate adjustment requested by Ameren Missouri. The hike comes out to about $14 per month. K.J Runge, from Miller County said â??None of us can get a salary raise five out of six years in a row, it just doesn't work that way but Ameren Missouri comes in and asks for these rate increases, my understanding is they are going to do it every year from here on out." Lisa Ordway of Jefferson City was also upset about the proposed increase, "They had indicated they only had four raises in the last five years but looking at by bill there has been over ten, so my question was, is that raise always approved by the public service commission or do you have the right to raise the bill on your own and his answer was yes because of the fuel adjustment change, yes." But Ameren thinks the $376 million dollar rate hike request is justified because their rates are 25 percent lower than the national average. And they've invested nearly $3 billion dollars in the last five years, â?? We are trying to do all we can to control our cost but these are costs that are being passed on to us and they represent investment we've made in the system to improve reliability and make the system cleaner", Michael Moehn, with Ameren Missouri said. The next hearing in Mid-Missouri will be in Mexico August 23rd in the Courthouse Community Room at noon. The public service commission will make the final decision. Formal hearings when Ameren presents evidence come later this year.