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Ameren Illinois has asked the Illinois Commerce Commission to comply with an important consumer safeguard designed to  prevent energy developers from imposing unfair and burdensome cost increases on downstate utility customers. 

Special interests are trying to pressure the ICC into reversing a decision that defines the timeline  for rooftop solar credits to be reduced for new net metering customers once solar penetration has reached a certain threshold. These subsidies are paid for by customers who are not benefitting  from the program. 

Under a 2016 law, a portion of the credit intended to kickstart solar development is expected to  expire soon. The credit consists of delivery service and energy supply components. The law  established a consumer safeguard which eliminates the delivery portion of the credit once the total  amount of electricity generated from solar meets or exceeds 5 percent of the Ameren Illinois peak  demand. In today's response to the ICC, Ameren Illinois urges the ICC to follow the law and begin  crediting new solar customers for excess generation equal to the amount and value provided to the  grid. 

"This is an issue of customer fairness," Ameren Illinois Chairman & President Richard J. Mark said. "We are very supportive of our customers and renewable energy. There is a reason why the law includes safeguards to protect customers who don't have the luxury of installing expensive  solar equipment, particularly those in low-income or disadvantaged areas." 

While many of these special interests are making erroneous claims about the law, they were also  part of the negotiations of the law in 2016 and were party to subsequent regulatory proceedings  filed by Ameren Illinois and approved by the ICC.  

Mark noted that the same groups asking the ICC to ignore the net metering law are the same organizations that have introduced an energy plan that will cost downstate residential  customers an additional $1.8 billion over ten years.  

"This is another example of Chicago-based special interest groups and out-of-state developers  trying to take advantage of downstate customers," he said.  

Only 3,000 of Ameren Illinois' 1.2 million electric customers have rooftop solar facilities and the 5 percent threshold provision will not affect them. New customers who install rooftop generation  will continue to be credited for the excess energy at a rate equal to the supply rate. 

"We're encouraging the commission to follow the law," Mark said. "The costs of solar energy  

development should not be borne by those customers who can least afford it." 

Ameren Illinois has proposed a transparent and achievable plan that will provide customers with  the benefits of solar energy and move Illinois closer to reaching its goal of 100 percent clean energy by  2050. The Downstate Clean Energy Affordability Act increases the production of lower-cost solar energy while delivering environmental and economic development benefits for customers across  central and southern Illinois. The Downstate Clean Energy Affordability Act is an affordable plan tailored to the needs and strengths of downstate communities.  

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