Ameren Illinois says grid modernization is working

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Ameren Illinois customers are experiencing fewer and shorter power outages as a result of electric grid upgrades the company has implemented under the state's Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA), the company said Monday.

These reliability improvements are saving its customers an estimated$48 millioneach year, Ameren Illinois said in a news release.

Since the modernization program began in 2012, the installation of storm-resilient utility poles, automated switches, and an upgraded distribution grid have resulted in 238,000 fewer annual electricity service interruptions on average. When customers do experience an outage, Ameren Illinois is restoring power 19 percent faster on average than in previous years.

"By all measures, the modernization plan is working for our customers and forIllinois," saidRichard Mark, President of Ameren Illinois. "Reliability has improved 17 percent, outages are down and good paying jobs are being created at a time when our state sorely needs them."

More than 330 employees and an additional 1,000 contract workers have been hired to support investments in Ameren Illinois' electric system and operations. In addition, Ameren Illinois is on track to exceed its EIMA full-time equivalent job creation commitment of 450 direct, contractor, or induced jobs during its peak program year. Under EIMA, Ameren Illinois expects to invest an additional$122.2 millionon system improvements in 2015 towards a total expected investment of$643 millionover the 10 year life of the program.

The company also said it is ahead of schedule in installing advanced meters, two-way devices that will provide customers with enhanced energy usage data and access to tools and programs to help them use less energy.

In 2015, Ameren Illinois plans to deploy 142,000 electric meters at customer locations in central and southernIllinois. This month, Ameren Illinois launched a suite of on-line tools to help its customers develop personalized energy savings plans, the company said.

"Today our customers have access to information that puts them firmly in control of their energy bills," said Mark. "Over time the upgrades will help us detect and isolate outages faster while giving our customers even more ways to manage their usage and contain costs."

The 2014 National Grid Modernization Index, developed by the GridWise alliance and the Smart Grid Policy Center, ranksIllinois3rd in the nation for its grid modernization policies, investments, and activities, trailing only TexasandCalifornia.Illinoismoved up from 10thplace in 2013.

To learn more about Ameren Illinois' modernization program, visit AmerenIllinois.com/focus or follow the company at Facebook.com/AmerenIllinois and on Twitter @AmerenIllinois.

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