Ameren provides the power that makes much of the American Midwest run. The holding company distributes electricity to 2.4 million customers and natural gas to 900,000 customers in Missouri and Illinois through utility subsidiaries. Ameren has a generating capacity of 16,000 MW (primarily coal-fired), most of which is controlled by utility Union Electric (which does business as Ameren Missouri) and nonregulated subsidiary AmerenEnergy Resources Generating Company. Ameren, which also supplies merchant generation power to third parties, operates a nuclear power facility, three hydroelectric plants, and several coal-fired plants and turbine combustion facilities. It also purchases power, including windpower.
In addition to operating power plants, Ameren procures natural gas for its affiliated companies, builds new power plants, and provides long-term energy supply contracts. It also markets and trades electricity to wholesale and retail customers and provides risk management and other energy-related services.
Ameren's overall revenues dipped in 2011. While increased rates helped to lift Ameren Missouri's revenues in 2011, Ameren Illinois' regulated segment and the merchant generation segment both reported a drop in revenues. In particular, low gas prices and a warm winter hurt gas revenues. However, lower purchased power and resale gas, coupled with a drop in goodwill, impairment, and other charges, helped to lift Ameren's net income for the year.
Favorable weather conditions (which increased energy demand) and rate increases help to lift the company's revenues in 2010. However, impairment of goodwill, intangible assets, and long-lived assets in the merchant generation segment (due to the sustained decline in market prices for electricity) dragged down Ameren's operating income.
In 2010 the company combined AmerenIP, AmerenCIPS, and AmerenCILCO into one entity, Ameren Illinois, in order to streamline operations and reduce confusion among customers. The three Illinois utilities have operated as a single business since 2004 and deliver energy to more than 1,100 communities. Ameren Illinois also operates some 21,400 miles of natural gas distribution and transmission lines.
To comply with federal requirements to separate ownership of power generation and transmission businesses, the operations of Ameren subsidiaries' transmission assets are under the control ofMidwest Independent Transmission System Operator, a regional transmission organization that coordinates power across 15 Midwestern states and one Canadian Province. – less