Electric Rates

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Ameren says its customers are in line for 85 million dollars in relief for high electric rates but won't get it as long as state lawmakers flirt with a rate freeze.

Ameren, Com-Ed and other utilities had negotiated with Senate Democrats a package of more than 150 million dollars in relief for customers hit hardest by soaring bills.

But that package was put on hold Friday when the Senate passed a one-year rate rollback and freeze for Ameren customers.

Ameren spokesman Leigh Morris says the company believes the package would provide immediate relief but can't be implemented if the threat of a rate freeze remains.

Morris says the company still wants to negotiate and could have relief in place within three weeks if they can come to an agreement.

Citizens Utility Board executive director David Kolata says the package is a good step but not nearly enough to help consumers.

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