Energy Efficiency, Executive Insight, Outage Management, T&D, Transmission

Ameren Illinois improves electric power grid with storm hardening

Ameren Illinois exceeded its yearly reliability performance goals required by the state’s Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA).

In 2012, the utility company began investing 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 power outages, resizing transformers to meet future capacity needs for customers and constructing new overhead and underground transmission lines.

These upgrades resulted in a 20 percent 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.

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.

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.