$18.4 million in projects will start in February
Ameren Illinois announced on Wednesday a two-year electric grid project to enhance service reliability for customers in Jersey and Macoupin counties.
The company is fortifying power lines and power poles to withstand high winds during storms as well as making enhancements at substations in Jerseyville, Piasa and Brighton. The total investment in the project is more than $18 million and is part of its plan to modernize the energy delivery system throughout Central and Southern Illinois.
· Phase 1 – Crews will upgrade 13.5 miles of power lines and replace more than 300 power poles from Jerseyville to Brighton. Part of the project includes installing a new three-mile circuit to connect the Piasa Junction and Brighton substations. This will improve the resiliency of the grid and allow for power to be re-routed between the two substations in the event of a service outage. The project is scheduled to starts this month with an estimated investment of $10.5 million.
· Phase 2 – In 2021, substation electricians will begin making upgrades to the Jerseyville, Piasa Junction and Brighton substations to add more resiliency to the local grid. New equipment is being added at each substation to meet future electric load increases and to assist in re-routing power to the other substations in the event of an outage. The investment is estimated to be $7.9 million.
“The upgrades are part of our overall statewide plan to build a cleaner, greener, more resilient grid,” said Richard Mark, chairman and president, Ameren Illinois. “With these enhancements, Ameren Illinois is taking proactive steps to prepare for the future needs of our electric customers. We’re excited to bring these enhancements to our customers in Jersey and Macoupin counties.”
More than 50 composite fiberglass poles are being erected at strategic points along the 13.5-mile route to strengthen the lines and prevent poles from breaking during sustained high winds.
“Composite poles are flexible and able to help the entire power line to better withstand the impacts of severe weather,” said Chad Cloninger, division director for Ameren Illinois. “We anticipate that this enhancement will improve electric service reliability for more than 4,200 customers in Jersey and Macoupin counties.”
The enhancements are part of Ameren Illinois’ multi-year initiative to modernize its energy delivery system. Since 2012, the company has implemented hundreds of projects, added new technology and strengthened poles, wires and distribution equipment. As a result, reliability has improved by an average of 17 percent and the time of an outage has been reduced by 19 percent.