ALTON — After the historic flood of 1993 receded into the river banks, Ameren Illinois engineers spent many hours looking for a solution to safeguard its natural gas and electric infrastructure near the Mississippi River. For one business customer, the solution was to install its natural gas meter high onto a utility pole – an uncommon practice – to avoid future flood damage.
Twenty-seven years later, Ameren Illinois gas and electrical co-workers were together again at the business site to install a new technologically-advanced gas meter. Natural gas co-workers worked alongside linemen inside bucket trucks to safely construct and install the gas meter set to ensure the safe, reliable natural gas service to the customer for many years to come.
“Even though Ameren Illinois is a combination natural gas and electric utility, it’s rare for the two energy delivery units to share the same infrastructure,” said Derek Cliff, Director of Division Operations, Ameren Illinois. “In fact, it’s the first time any of us can think of when a natural gas meter set was affixed to a power pole.”
The natural gas meter set is mounted on the utility pole at a height above the flood level of 1993, requiring a bucket truck to access it. Steel lines run up to the inlet of the meter set and are connected to the inlet of the meter set using industry-approved, braided, flexible hoses. These hoses allow for movement of the meter and related facilities during inclement weather.
“The design of meter set allows Ameren Illinois to either bypass the meter or connect temporary compressed natural gas on the outlet side of the meter, which ensures safe, reliable natural gas service even when maintenance work must be performed on the meter set,” said Michael Fuller, supervising engineer, Ameren Illinois. “We performed this work while the business is closed because of COVID-19. This customer would have experienced a certain amount of time without natural gas as Ameren Illinois operations would have had to take an outage in order to safely complete the work on the meter set.”