Customers shouldn't suffer for Ameren's bad decisions

Customers shouldn't suffer for Ameren's bad decisions

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Rush Island Energy Center

The coal-fired Rush Island Energy Center electricity generation plant owned by Ameren Missouri in Jefferson County as seen on Wednesday, April 18, 2019. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com

Regarding “If corporate responsibility is too expensive, litigate the problem or bury it.” (Oct. 5): Thank you, Post-Dispatch, for this editorial concerning Ameren’s track record of avoiding pollution investments and cleanups. A subsequent letter, “Ameren customers forgotten in pollution battle,” (Oct 10th) voices an understandable empathy for ratepayers. But if Ameren had put on scrubbers in the 1970s and didn’t improperly dump waste, it would have cost all of us taxpayers a lot less.

It’s impossible to make up for the millions spent on health care and lost lives we have suffered. Legal judgment should never be billed to ratepayers when it reflects bad judgment by Ameren’s management. Why should consumers be stuck with the bill? In a recent court filing, the Department of Justice emphasized that the ratepayers might not have to pay for Ameren’s installation of long-overdue pollution controls: “Ameren matter-of-factly claims that all of these costs ‘will be borne by Missouri ratepayers’ in spite of the fact that the court’s remedy decision correctly found that there is nothing that requires Ameren to seek — or the Missouri Public Service Commission to allow — the recovery of these costs from Ameren’s ratepayers.” Therefore, who will pay for Ameren’s pollution is not a foregone conclusion. I agree that it should not be ratepayers.

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