There's a big stink going on here in St. Louis regarding the largest electric company, AmerenUE. There were two really bad storms last year that knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people on the hottest and coldest days of the year, respectively. Power was out for many, many days, and more than a few people were up in arms over the Ameren's inability to keep trees trimmed and to restore power quickly (just ask Pogo).
So Ameren decided to do something about it. They said they were going to launch a major initiative to get things right, but they were going to need to raise rates in order to do so. Never mind that they made $300 million last year. They needed more money in order to institute these changes, stay financially sound, and to keep their bond rating up. So the Illinois legislature dropped Ameren's rate freeze - and they hiked prices as much as 400% in some areas. My mother-in-law saw her electric bill go from just over $100 to nearly $400 in one month. Meanwhile, Ameren is pitching the same sob story to Missouri wanting to raise their rates here, too.
So exactly how bad is it at Ameren? They're so cash-strapped, they decided they should "only" pay their CEO $4.4 million
in compensation after a year that saw the two worst power outages in St. Louis' history.
I really need to get a monopoly.