AmerenIP is the major supplier of power for much of the Southwestern portion of Illinois. It is also one of the most unlucky companies of 2006 and early 2007.
First, it was two storms in middle and late 2006 that knocked power out for thousands of customers, and stayed out for days, even weeks. Ameren was baffled as its customer grew more disgruntled. They couldn't believe that their beloved customers could actually expect them to maintain their infrastructure and keep the power flowing.
These storms, in turn, led to their next shock. Ameren claimed that they hadn't maintained their infrastructure because of a ten year old rate freeze. How could they be expected to both maintain the power infrastructure and still have money left over to pay their CEOs the miserly sum of $1,000 for each telephone conference they joined in? It was an impossible task.
Then there was a light at the end of Ameren's dark tunnel. The rate freeze expired. They could raise their rates, and finally their top managers would be able to afford the finer things they deserve, like gold plated toilets. There might even be some left over for those upgrades to the infrastructure. This, sadly, was not the case. Those baffling customers had the nerve to complain about the fact that the rate hikes were 150% to 300% instead of the promised 50%. Now they are looking at having to give all of that money back, even though they had it earmarked for Segways. Dispirited, they resigned themselves to walk.
This, however, wasn't the end. Now a new woe has been added to the heavy burden they must carry. PETA filed suit against them in Illinois District Court. The charges? PETA says that Ameren's use of gerbils on wheels to produce a majority of its power is shocking, immoral, and really just stupid.
When reached for comment Ameren CEO Gary L. Rainwater had this to say, "Look, gerbils are cheap, they'll run themselves to death, and you don't even have to feed them, it's cheaper to just replace them with new ones. It would cost us millions to build new power plants. How can we be expected to put morals ahead of profit?" He then lamented the fact that his company is seen as only out for profit no matter what the cost. Holding up a platinum plated cigar cutter he sighed, "This use to be solid platinum, even the blade, now it's just platinum plated with a silver blade. We've all had to make sacrifices to afford the rising cost of our power, even me." When asked if he even smoked cigars, Rainwater grew angry and shouted that wasn't the point and that the meeting was over.