Ameren Corp. Reaches $180 Million Settlement In Missouri Reservoir Collapse

Wednesday, November 28th 2007, 10:18 am
By: News On 6

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Ameren Corp. has reached a settlement worth $180 million resulting from a reservoir collapse that injured a family, according to a signed copy of the settlement obtained by The Associated Press Wednesday.

The agreement requires the utility to pay state and local coffers with cash and property to compensate for damages. The agreement will end a civil lawsuit filed by Attorney General Jay Nixon and months of negotiations between the St. Louis-based company and three state agencies.

The mountaintop reservoir that was part of a hydroelectric plant collapsed on Dec. 14, 2005, after Ameren delayed critical repairs there and faulty instruments caused the basin to overflow. The resulting flood devastated vast tracts of the Johnson's Shut-Ins state park and injured a family of five.

Nixon said in a statement the settlement ``satisfies my requirement for 'the three Rs,' which are the demands I have made from the beginning. Those are that Ameren's ratepayers be protected from bearing any of the costs related to the collapse, that the state of Missouri and other injured parties receive adequate recompense for their losses, and that Ameren must rebuild the Taum Sauk reservoir.''

The deal requires Ameren to pay $56.2 million in cash, including $7 million for an economic development fund in Reynolds County, where the reservoir is located.

Ameren is also required to spend $52 million to rebuild Johnson's Shut-Ins, while the settlement gives Ameren $51 million in ``credit'' for the cleanup work it has already performed.

Thomas Voss, chief executive of Ameren's Missouri subsidiary, AmerenUE, said that the company didn't need pressure to begin restoring the park or cooperate with state and local agencies. ``Now, AmerenUE can begin rebuilding this important plant for the benefit of the citizens of Missouri and those who live in the Taum Sauk area,'' he said.