By Editors of Power Engineering
The Illinois Commerce Commission on Friday approved Ameren Illinois’ plans to accelerate upgrades to its electric grid, an effort that has already resulted in more than 235,300 fewer outages and saved customers an estimated $46 million each year.
The plan includes accelerated deployment of the utility’s smart meters at homes and businesses by 2019.
The utility launched its grid improvement initiative in 2012 after state lawmakers approved legislation allowing the company to recover costs for improvements to the state’s electric distribution system. Since then, the utility has installed storm-resistant utility poles, stronger power lines and outage detection technology throughout central and southern Illinois. What’s more, more than 345,000 Ameren Illinois customers have received two-way meters that enable customers to use energy-saving tools and programs.
Using the smart meter, customers will be able to see their usage online and participate in pricing options and programs. More than 7,000 customers used their smart meters to decrease consumption on two high-temperature days in August and September. As a result, those customers received credits ranging from a few dollars to $63.
“Today’s decision ensures that all of our customers will have access to technology to help them manage their energy use and save money on their utility bills,” said Craig Nelson, senior vice president of Regulatory Affairs and Financial Services for Ameren Illinois.
The utility provides power to 1.2 million customers.