Ameren Illinois announced that it exceeded its yearly reliability performance goals required by the state's Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA).
"Customers are beginning to experience the benefits of a long-term approach for upgrading the state's electric delivery infrastructure," said Richard Mark, President and CEO of Ameren Illinois. "We are keeping pace with needed investments in a vast system that serves 1.2 million homes and businesses in central and southern Illinois."
In 2012, the company embarked on an ambitious plan to invest billions of dollars in improving electric service reliability. Since then, implementation of advanced technology such as intelligent switches and smart sensors is increasing electric system performance throughout the Ameren Illinois territory. Ameren Illinois is hardening its system by installing larger poles that can withstand stronger storms, installing smart sensors and switches to reduce outages, resizing transformers to meet future capacity needs for customers and constructing new overhead and underground lines. These upgrades resulted in a 20% average improvement in system reliability compared to the average reliability from 2001 to 2010. Using the U.S. Department of Energy's Interruption Cost Estimate Calculator (ICE), the improvements have saved residential and small commercial customers an estimated $57 million a year since 2012.
"We're making strategic investments to modernize our infrastructure while managing costs," said Ron Pate, senior vice president of operations. "This is a long term process, but we have been able to deliver results to customers while keeping their rates reasonable."
Investments in modernizing the grid are also generating new jobs. Since January 3, 2012, Ameren Illinois has added 250 employees, and an additional 1,000 contract workers have been deployed to work on Ameren Illinois projects. The added wages and benefits are providing a needed boost to economies in downstate Illinois.
"We're looking to strengthen our team to help us build the next generation energy delivery system," added Mark.
The company also plans to install new meters at customer locations beginning in the summer of 2014. Over time these upgrades will improve service reliability by helping Ameren Illinois detect and isolate outages faster. Customers will also have more information and new tools and programs to better manage energy costs.
Additional information about the Ameren Illinois infrastructure upgrade plan is available at AmerenIllinois.com/focus.
About Ameren Illinois
Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and 767,000 natural gas customers in downstate Illinois, and our mission is to power the quality of life. Our service territory covers more than 1,200 communities and 43,700 square miles. For more information, visit AmerenIllinois.com. Follow us on Twitter @AmerenIllinois and Facebook