ST. LOUIS, Oct. 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Ameren Corporation (NYSE: AEE) today announced that it has completed the merger of its three Illinois electric and natural gas utilities – AmerenCIPS, AmerenCILCO and AmerenIP – into a single public utility now known as "Ameren Illinois."
The reorganization has been approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the appropriate notice was filed in the spring of 2010 with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC).
The legal name for the combined utility is Ameren Illinois Company, and it is a direct subsidiary of Ameren Corporation. In addition, AmerenUE, which serves approximately 1.2 million customers in Missouri, today began doing business as "Ameren Missouri."
The reorganization of the Illinois utilities does not affect the current customer electricity and natural gas rates.
"This merger is the logical next step in the evolution of our business in Illinois," said Thomas R. Voss, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Ameren Corporation. "For the last several years, we have been moving towards operating our Illinois utilities as one company to reduce the cost of operations and gain efficiencies for our customers.
"We also want to communicate clearly with our customers and, for that reason, with the completion of this merger we are announcing name changes for our operations in both Illinois and Missouri," Voss added. "Since the utility companies in Illinois and Missouri operate under different regulatory requirements and business models, we believe we are adding clarity for all our stakeholders by identifying each of our utility companies by the state in which it does business.
"These changes make it clear that each utility is focused on the needs of its customers – helping us differentiate the pricing structures and rates and services offered, based on regulatory and legislative differences."
In Illinois, the merger and related synergies also are expected to provide greater convenience for customers, such as a single "800" toll-free telephone number for use in reporting outages or obtaining account information. In addition, the merger is expected to reduce confusion among customers who formerly received bills from two of the Illinois utilities and in shared media markets in areas that border both Illinois and Missouri.
"With this merger, we expect to benefit from economies of scale and realize operating efficiencies from reductions in the administrative work associated with maintaining three utilities," said Ameren Illinois chairman, president and chief executive officer Scott A. Cisel. "This merger will enable us to become more efficient, enhance customer satisfaction and support our commitment to provide safe, reliable electricity and natural gas delivery service."
Communication about the merger has been and will be handled directly with customers through bill inserts and through news media releases. Signage with these new names will be phased in over time to avoid unnecessary costs.
Subsequent to the consummation of the Merger, Ameren Illinois distributed all of the shares of common stock of AmerenEnergy Resources Generating Company owned by Ameren Illinois to Ameren Corporation, and Ameren Corporation subsequently contributed such shares of common stock to its subsidiary, Ameren Energy Resources Company LLC.
Headquartered in Peoria, Ill., Ameren Illinois serves all or part of 85 of Illinois' 102 counties and ranks as the second largest Illinois electricity delivery operation in total number of customers (approximately 1.2 million). Ameren Illinois also ranks as the third largest Illinois natural gas distribution operation in total number of customers (approximately 813,000) and operates 45,000 miles of electric distribution lines and 18,000 miles of natural gas distribution and transmission mains.
With assets of $24 billion, Ameren serves approximately 2.4 million electric customers and almost one million natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area of Missouri and Illinois. Ameren owns a diverse mix of electric generating plants strategically located in its Midwest market with a generating capacity of 16,900 megawatts.
Statements in this release not based on historical facts are considered "forward-looking" and, accordingly, involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed. Although such forward-looking statements have been made in good faith and are based on reasonable assumptions, there is no assurance that the expected results will be achieved. These statements include (without limitation) statements as to future expectations, beliefs, plans, strategies, objectives, events, conditions, and financial performance. In connection with the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, we are providing this cautionary statement to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated. The following factors, in addition to those discussed elsewhere in this release and in our filings with the SEC could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations suggested in such forward-looking statements:
- regulatory or legislative actions, including changes in regulatory policies and ratemaking determinations, such as the outcome of pending Ameren Illinois 2010 rate order, and future rate proceedings or legislative actions that seek to limit or reverse rate increases;
- the effects of, or changes to, the Illinois power procurement process;
- changes in laws and other governmental actions, including monetary and fiscal policies;
- changes in laws or regulations that adversely affect the ability of electric distribution companies and other purchasers of wholesale electricity to pay their suppliers, including Ameren Energy Marketing Company;
- the effects of increased competition in the future due to, among other things, deregulation of certain aspects of our business at both the state and federal levels, and the implementation of deregulation, such as occurred when the electric rate freeze and power supply contracts expired in Illinois at the end of 2006;
- the effects on demand for our services resulting from technological advances, including advances in energy efficiency and distributed generation sources, which generate electricity at the site of consumption;
- increasing capital expenditure and operating expense requirements and our ability to recover these costs in a timely fashion in light of regulatory lag;
- the effects of participation in the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, Inc.;
- the cost and availability of fuel such as coal and natural gas used to produce electricity; the cost and availability of purchased power and natural gas for distribution; and the level and volatility of future market prices for such commodities, including the ability to recover the costs for such commodities;
- the effectiveness of our risk management strategies and the use of financial and derivative instruments;
- prices for power in the Midwest, including forward prices;
- business and economic conditions, including their impact on interest rates, bad debt expense, and demand for our products;
- disruptions of the capital markets or other events that make the Ameren companies' access to necessary capital, including short-term credit and liquidity, impossible, more difficult, or more costly;
- our assessment of our liquidity;
- the impact of the adoption of new accounting guidance and the application of appropriate technical accounting rules and guidance;
- actions of credit rating agencies and the effects of such actions;
- the impact of weather conditions and other natural phenomena on us and our customers;
- the impact of system outages;
- transmission and distribution asset construction, installation and performance;
- impairments of long-lived assets or goodwill;
- the effects of strategic initiatives, including mergers, acquisitions and divestitures;
- the impact of current environmental regulations on utilities and power generating companies and the expectation that more stringent requirements, including those related to greenhouse gases and energy efficiency, will be enacted over time, which could increase our costs, reduce our customers' demand for electricity or natural gas, or otherwise have a negative financial effect;
- labor disputes, work force reductions, future wage and employee benefits costs, including changes in discount rates and returns on benefit plan assets;
- the inability of our counterparties and affiliates to meet their obligations with respect to contracts, credit facilities and financial instruments;
- the cost and availability of transmission capacity for the energy generated by the Ameren companies' facilities or required to satisfy energy sales made by the Ameren companies;
- legal and administrative proceedings; and
- acts of sabotage, war, terrorism, or intentionally disruptive acts.
Given these uncertainties, undue reliance should not be placed on these forward-looking statements. Except to the extent required by the federal securities laws, we undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements to reflect new information or future events.
SOURCE Ameren Corporation