Ameren, formed in 1997 and headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, is a public utility holding company whose primary assets are its equity interests in its subsidiaries. Ameren’s subsidiaries are separate, independent legal entities with separate businesses, assets, and liabilities. Dividends on Ameren’s common stock and the payment of expenses by Ameren depend on distributions made to it by its subsidiaries. Below is a summary description of Ameren’s principal subsidiaries – Ameren Missouri, Ameren Illinois, and ATXI. Ameren also has other subsidiaries that conduct other activities, such as providing shared services. A more detailed description can be found in Note 1 – Summary of Significant Accounting Policies under Part II, Item 8, of this report.
We are subject to extensive regulation of our businesses.
The electric and natural gas rates that we are allowed to charge are determined through regulatory proceedings, which are subject to intervention and appeal. Rates are also subject to legislative actions, which are largely outside of our control. Certain events could prevent us from recovering our costs in a timely manner or from earning adequate returns on our investments.
As a result of its participation in performance-based formula ratemaking, Ameren Illinois’ ROE for its electric distribution service and its electric energy-efficiency investments is directly correlated to yields on United States Treasury bonds. Additionally, Ameren Illinois is required to achieve certain performance standards.
As a result of the PISA, Ameren Missouri’s electric rates are subject to a rate cap.
We are subject to various environmental laws. Significant capital expenditures are required to achieve and to maintain compliance with these environmental laws. Failure to comply with these laws could result in the closing of facilities, alterations to the manner in which these facilities operate, increased operating costs, delays and increased costs of building new facilities, or exposure to fines and liabilities.
Customers’, investors’, legislators’, and regulators’ opinions of us are affected by many factors, including system reliability, implementation of our investment plans, protection of customer information, rates, media coverage, and environmental, social, and governance practices. Negative opinions developed by customers, investors, legislators, or regulators could harm our reputation.
We are subject to federal regulatory compliance and proceedings, which could result in increasing costs and the potential for regulatory penalties and other sanctions.
The construction and acquisition of, and capital improvements to, electric and natural gas utility infrastructure involve substantial risks. These risks include escalating costs; unsatisfactory performance by the projects when completed; the inability to complete projects as scheduled, which could affect the ability to qualify for some or all of the anticipated federal production or investment tax credits; cost disallowances by regulators; and the inability to earn an adequate return on invested capital. Any of these risks could result in higher costs, inability to complete anticipated projects, or facility closures.
Our electric generation, transmission, and distribution facilities are subject to operational risks.
Ameren Missouri’s ability to obtain an adequate supply of coal could limit operation of its coal-fired energy centers.
Ameren Missouri’s ownership and operation of a nuclear energy center creates business, financial, and waste disposal risks.
Our natural gas distribution and storage activities involve numerous risks that may result in accidents and increased operating costs.
Significant portions of our electric generation, transmission, and distribution facilities and natural gas transmission and distribution facilities are aging. This aging infrastructure may require significant additional maintenance or replacement. Ameren Missouri could be adversely affected if it is unable to recover the remaining investment, if any, and decommissioning costs associated with the retirement of an energy center, as well as the ability to earn a return on that remaining investment and those decommissioning costs.
Energy conservation, energy efficiency, distributed generation, energy storage, technological advances, and other factors could reduce energy demand from Ameren Missouri’s customers.
We are subject to employee work force factors that could adversely affect our operations.
Our operations are subject to acts of terrorism, cyber attacks, and other intentionally disruptive acts.
FINANCIAL, ECONOMIC, AND MARKET RISKS
Our businesses are dependent on our ability to access the capital markets successfully. We might not have access to sufficient capital in the amounts and at the times needed, as well as on reasonable terms.
Ameren’s holding company structure could limit its ability to pay common stock dividends and to service its debt obligations.
Costs associated with our defined benefit retirement and postretirement plans, health care plans, and other employee benefits could increase.
Our results of operations and financial position are affected by many factors. Economic conditions, energy-efficiency investments by our customers and by us, technological advances, distributed generation, and the actions of key customers can significantly affect the demand for our services. Ameren and Ameren Missouri results are also affected by seasonal fluctuations in winter heating and summer cooling demands, as well as by nuclear refueling and other energy center maintenance outages. Additionally, fluctuations in interest rates and conditions in the capital and credit markets affect our cost of borrowing, and our pension and postretirement benefits costs. Almost all of Ameren’s revenues are subject to state or federal regulation. This regulation has a material impact on the rates we charge customers for our services. Customer rates are determined under various regulatory mechanisms. See Note 2 – Rate and Regulatory Matters for additional information regarding Ameren Missouri’s, Ameren Illinois’, and ATXI’s regulatory mechanisms. Our results of operations, financial position, and liquidity are affected by our ability to align our overall spending, both operating and capital, within the frameworks established by our regulators.