Illinois approves revised smart grid AMI deployment plan

AMI-2

The Illinois Commerce Commission recently approved Ameren Illinois’ revised smart grid advanced metering infrastructure deployment plan.

As noted in the ICC’s Sept. 22 order, the ICC in December 2012 approved the company’s advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) deployment plan, which provided for, among other things, deployment of AMI to 62 percent of the company’s electric delivery customers by 2019.

The company in late May filed a verified petition requesting that the ICC reopen the docket (Docket No. 12-0244) to consider changes to the AMI plan – specifically, an acceleration in the AMI deployment schedule to achieve 62 percent deployment by 2018, and expansion of AMI deployment to 100 percent of the company’s electric delivery customers.

Ameren said that the AMI plan approved in Docket No. 12-0244 assumed that the company would complete the deployment of AMI to 62 percent of electric customers by the end of 2019, but Ameren now proposes to complete deployment of AMI to 100 percent of electric customers by the end of 2019.

To reach 100 percent of electric customers, Ameren must extend the deployment of AMI to the remaining 38 percent of electric customers and accelerate the deployment of AMI to the original 62 percent.

The ICC added that Ameren suggested that the proposed changes to the deployment schedule allow it to maintain the existing timetable, with every electric customer having an AMI meter installed by the end of 2019.

The company said that the acceleration of deployment of AMI meters to the original 62 percent would begin this year, but the bulk of the acceleration would occur in 2017, and allow the company to complete deployment of AMI to the original 62 percent in 2018, a year early. The expansion of the deployment of AMI to the remaining 38 percent would begin in 2018, and be completed in 2019, the ICC added.

The ICC said that according to the company, the internal rate of return of the 100 percent AMI plan (28.4 percent) is improved over the 62 percent AMI plan (22.4 percent), and exceeds its cost of capital (5.58 percent).

Among other things, the ICC said that it appears that no party objects to the company’s request to expand AMI to reach 100 percent of electric customers, and no party takes issue with the scheduled meter deployment proposed by Ameren.

Also, ICC staff recommends that the ICC find that the 100 percent AMI plan satisfies the statutory requirements and is projected to produce incremental benefits in excess of incremental costs, as compared to the current 62 percent AMI plan, the ICC said.

Ameren Illinois, a unit of Ameren Corporation, said on Sept. 23 that it launched its grid improvement initiative in 2012 after the state passed the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act, which enables the company to recover the costs of capital for infrastructure improvements and enhancements to the electric distribution system.

Under the modernization plan, Ameren Illinois said that it has installed storm-resistant utility poles, stronger power lines, and outage detection technology in communities throughout central and southern Illinois. The company also said that more than 345,000 customers have received new two-way meters that facilitate access to energy-saving tools and programs.

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