Ameren Corporation (NYSE:AEE) Q2 2019 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

Aug 02, 2019 • 10:00 am ET

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Ameren Corporation (NYSE:AEE) Q2 2019 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

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Presentation
Executive
Warner L. Baxter

in several ways, including providing energy assistance funds.

I also want to thank our co-workers for their extraordinary efforts to safely restore service to our customers, maintain safe and reliable service throughout our operations, as well as volunteering their time to help those in need during this challenging period. It was clearly a tremendous team effort.

Moving to page five. Here we reiterate our strategic plan, which we have been executing very well throughout the year. We expect our plan to continue delivering significant value for our customers and strong long-term earnings growth for our shareholders.

The first pillar of our strategy stresses investing in and operating our utilities in a manner consistent with existing regulatory frameworks. This has driven our multiyear focus on investing in energy infrastructure for the long-term benefit of customers and our jurisdictions that are supported by modern constructive regulatory frameworks.

As you can see on the right side of this page, during the first half of the year, we invested significant capital in each of our business segments to better serve our customers. These investments are delivering value to our customers. Our energy grid is becoming more reliable, resilient and secure. New smart meters are providing our customers with better tools to manage their energy usage and our digital technology investments are enhancing our customers' experience with us. Of course, we're not done.

Looking ahead, we continue to see the need for robust energy infrastructure investments to meet our customers' energy needs and exceed their rising expectations. And we remain relentlessly focused on operational excellence, continuous improvement and disciplined cost management to keep our customers' cost competitive and affordable.

For example in mid-May, we completed the 23rd nuclear refueling and maintenance outage at Ameren Missouri's Callaway Energy Center safely, on time and on budget. This is just one example of many focused efforts across the company that has helped keep our electric rates in both Missouri and Illinois well below the Midwest and national averages.

Speaking of keeping our electric rates low and competitive for our customers, in early July, Ameren filed a request for a $1 million decrease in annual electric service revenue with the Missouri Public Service Commission. This marks the second potential reduction in electric rates since August 2018. The request incorporates the benefits of lower coal and transportation expenses, as well as other operating costs and provides for recovery of and return on important new infrastructure investments.

This filing also provides flexibility to time our next rate review to include wind generation investments, planned for the fourth quarter of 2020. We look forward to working with the Missouri PSC staff and other stakeholders on this important matter in the months ahead. I am also pleased to report that in late July, Ameren Missouri was able to reach a non-unanimous stipulation and agreement on our pending natural gas rate review. Consistent with our focus on keeping our customers' energy cost competitive and affordable, this agreement will lower Missouri's natural gas customers' rates