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Ameren Illinois says natural gas supply enough to handle winter’s peak

Company has 24 billion cubic feet of natural gas in reserve

Ameren Illinois says it is ready for increases in demand occur when temperatures plummet and customers use more natural gas to heat their homes and power their appliances.

The company’s natural gas storage capabilities – 12 underground fields located across its 43,700-square-mile service territory – provide ample supply and price stability through the heating season, utility officials said.

The company’s storage fields can safely store 24.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas, providing more than 40 percent of the natural gas used by customers during a typical winter season. The storage fields serve three primary purposes:

·         Enable Ameren Illinois to purchase natural gas at lower prices during the spring and summer months, store it in extensive underground storage fields, and then withdraw the gas during the winter months to deliver to customers. This helps keep natural gas bills lower in the winter.

·         Ensure Ameren Illinois has enough natural gas to meet demand on cold winter days.

·         Balance day-to-day, hour-to-hour variabilities of customer demands.

Ameren Illinois gas storage fields are located in the: Ashmore, Centralia, Eden, Freeburg, Galesburg, Glasford, Hookdale, Hillsboro, Johnston City, Lincoln, Sciota and Tilden.

“Our natural gas storage capabilities allow us to keep prices stable during the wintertime, and in the event of frigid weather, they provide price stability when demand will be higher to keep everyone warm inside their homes,” said Eric Kozak, vice president of Natural Gas Operations, Ameren Illinois. “The volume of natural gas each storage field contains at peak varies. Our storage field in Freeburg, for example, holds 1.9 billion cubic feet of natural gas or enough to fill (St. Louis Cardinals) Busch Stadium 80 times.”

In addition to the storage fields, Kozak said the company’s investment in its natural gas transmission pipeline system enhances customer reliability during the wintertime. Under its natural gas modernization program, Ameren Illinois has replaced more than 200 miles of mechanically coupled steel pipeline, 100 miles of vintage steel pipes, and more than 70 natural gas regulator stations. Along with implementation of new technology to monitor and adjust pipeline pressurization, these projects have delivered increased safety and reliability, supported downstate growth, and created hundreds of jobs in central and southern Illinois.

“We have made significant progress in the last seven years strengthening the integrity and reliability of our natural gas infrastructure across our Ameren Illinois service territory,” said Richard J. Mark, chairman and president, Ameren Illinois. “We’re making prudent investments in the energy delivery system to meet the needs of our customers today while providing resiliency and flexibility for the future.”

Todd Kuhl, a natural gas storage field operator, Ameren Illinois, inspects the pressure levels of the instrumentation on a natural gas compressor during gas injection operations to ensure safe and reliable operations.

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