March 28--MT. VERNON -- Residential and small business customers of Ameren in Jefferson and Washington counties will benefit from a expansion of its delivery system for electric and natural gas.
"As part of a multi-year plan to build a next generation energy delivery system and create jobs in central and Southern Illinois, Ameren ... is investing approximately $15.5 million to improve natural gas and electric service," information from Ameren states.
Customers will begin receiving notification about the upcoming electric and natural gas upgrades, which are slated to begin in May and continue through 2015. The two-way advanced meters will provide better information for restoring outages and give Ameren Illinois customers more meaningful information about energy usage.
Ameren states the benefits of the new meters upgrades include more reliable energy as the meter works with other system upgrades which Ameren is making, including automated switches and sensors that will help the utility detect and isolate outages sooner so service can be restored promptly.
"As technology continues to advance, the new meters will provide detailed energy usage information that will make it easier for customers to take an active role in controlling their energy usage," information states. "Over time, customers will have more convenient ways to view their energy usage information through mobile and web-based tools, all designed to help customers better manage their energy use."
Customers will be contacted in advance of meter upgrades and do not need to take action or be present as long as installers have clear and safe access to the meters.
"The upgrades will take 10 to 15 minutes and will be performed by Ameren Illinois or Apex contracting crews, displaying Ameren photo-ID badges," information states. "Installers will never ask for payment of any kind. There will be a brief interruption to a customer's electric service, but no gas service interruption during the upgrade. If a customer is not present, a door hanger will be left to let them know if the upgrade was completed. Electric and gas meters will be upgraded on separate visits to each property."
In addition to the meters, Ameren is building two new substations -- one on Old Fairfield Road and another between 10th and 11th Street east of the existing substation.
"A distribution substation reduces voltage so power can be delivered safely to a customer," information states. "The additional capacity is needed to support load growth and increase reliability for customers in Mt. Vernon and Summersville."
The new substation is expected to be in service by the end of the year. As a result of the project, nearly 50 new power poles and 4.3 miles of power lines will be set to strengthen the connection between the new Old Fairfield Road substation and the 11th Street substation.
The 11th Street substation is expected to be in service by the end of the year, and the old substation removed by the end of 2016. The cost of the substation projects in Mt. Vernon is at $6.5 million.
A $230,000 project to modernize the 27th Street and Brownsville Road substations is expected to be completed as well. The modernization includes installing technology which will detect problems on power lines such as lightening or a fallen limb, and works to reduce the number of customers affected by a power outage.
In Washington County, Ameren will upgrade and fortify power lines from the intersection of Lebanon and Washington Streets in Nashville to the Washington County Hospital and Rural Health Clinic at an estimated project cost of $300,000.
(c)2015 the Mt. Vernon Register-News (Mount Vernon, Ill.)
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