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Ameren Illinois completing major upgrades to Belleville area energy delivery network

BELLEVILLE – Ameren Illinois continues to make electric infrastructure upgrades to improve the reliability and performance of its electric transmission and energy delivery systems throughout the greater Belleville area.

The company is investing $36.5 million, and most of the improvements are scheduled to be placed into service by the end of this year.

“We’re excited to implement another step of our long-range plans to fortify the electric delivery system in the greater Belleville area,” said George Justice, director of Division VI Operations for Ameren Illinois. “The new technology and equipment we’re putting in today will help ensure that we can meet the evolving demands of our business and residential customers in the future.”

These local infrastructure projects have been completed or are in progress:

– Transmission system expansion: Ameren Illinois is upgrading its electric transmission system in Belleville and Cahokia to meet demand growth and improve transmission system reliability.
The company is investing $7.5 million to upgrade its 25-mile transmission line that will allow Ameren to move 2.5 times as much power between its Turkey Hill substation, a Belleville-area facility, and its Cahokia substation.

Ameren Illinois is also expanding its Turkey Hill substation by adding a 345-kilovolt ring bus to accommodate the upgraded transmission line and to improve reliability. The transmission system investment for Turkey Hill is $8.1 million. Both the substation work in Belleville and the transmission line upgrade project are scheduled to be completed by the end of this year.

At the Cahokia substation, which will directly benefit Metro East customers, Ameren Illinois is replacing a 1960s-era 560-megawatt power transformer with a new 700-megawatt power transformer. The $17.2 million Cahokia substation upgrades are expected to be completed by the end of the summer 2015. Total investment: $32.8 million.

– Smart switching: In addition to the new West Haven substation, Ameren Illinois added nine IntelliRupters, or smart switches, on Mascoutah Avenue, McClintock, Green Mount Lane, Van Buren, Cleveland, State Street and three in different locations on Illinois Route 159. These automated and remotely controllable switching devices can sense the condition of the electric system and determine appropriate switching actions to reduce the number of customers affected by an outage. It works as a team with other switching devices to isolate the outage and reduce the length of outages. Investment: $650,000. Project completed.

– Concordia substation

Approximately 10-15 new power poles and power lines will be added around the substation, located just south of Mine Haul Road. Investment: $250,000

IntelliRupters will be installed in three locations in 2015 to connect a circuit from the new Concordia substation to a circuit from the 44th Street substation to improve reliability on those circuits in case of an outage. Investment: $240,000

The company is adding an overhead line between its 8th Street substation and the new Concordia Road substation that is currently under construction. The tie will provide alternate pathways to deliver power in the event of an outage. Investment: $600,000. Project underway.

– New power poles and lines: Added 45 poles and 3,000 feet of new power lines and 1,500 feet of new underground cable to support the new West Haven substation. The new 22-MVA West Haven substation replaced a 1950s era substation on Illinois Route 159. The new sub is in service. Investment: $1.4 million. Project completed.

– C Street line work: Work around the C Street substation is complete. Ameren Illinois is adding 10 new power poles to accommodate substation expansion and new feeder exits. In order to improve capacity and service reliability, nearly 100 new transformers were installed to upgrade one circuit from 4 kilovolts to 12 kilovolts. The transformer change out was completed a few months ago. Investment: $500,000. Entire project should be in service by the end of October.

– Power line upgrade. Ameren Illinois is upgrading the power lines on Lincoln Street behind City Hall. This upgrade will accommodate growing customer demand for the new developments in the area such as the Cottages at the Cathedral. Investment: $65,000..

“We’re looking ahead to what our customers’ energy needs will be in the future and preparing for those needs today,” said Richard J. Mark, President and CEO of Ameren Illinois. “These projects are not only strengthening the grid, but they are adding jobs and providing a boost to local economies.” Ameren Illinois is investing $3.5 billion over the next five years to build a next generation energy delivery system and create jobs in central and southern Illinois.

The company is fortifying utility poles, installing intelligent switches and sensors, upgrading the natural gas delivery network, and installing advanced meters throughout its service territory.

The upgrades will improve service reliability and provide customers with information they can use to take control of their energy usage and costs. From the beginning of 2012 until June 30, 2014, Ameren has hired 807 Illinois-based employees.

Factoring in natural attrition, this hiring has resulted in a net increase of 471 employees supporting Ameren Illinois electric and natural gas service operations.

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