To keep up with our customers' growing energy needs, Ameren Illinois is always focused forward on improving electric delivery service. In early 2012, we created a 10-year Modernization Action Plan, or MAP, to build a smart grid and perform thousands of infrastructure projects throughout downstate Illinois. Through MAP, Ameren Illinois also will create jobs (450 during the peak program year) in Illinois.
We'll be focusing on six main areas of investment to meet your energy needs:
<li>Reliability, repairs and replacements</li>
<li>Reducing energy loss</li>
Together, these improvements are designed to make your service smarter, safer, more reliable and more efficient. <a href="/sites/aiu/MAP/Pages/MAPBlueprint.aspx">Learn more about each area</a>.
Over the next 10 years, we plan to <a href="/sites/aiu/MAP/Documents/map_investment.pdf" target="_blank">invest an estimated $643 million</a> on projects throughout our downstate service territory. Projects contained under MAP will take place in addition to regularly scheduled maintenance we have budgeted and planned for the next decade, so that customers can see results faster. We submitted a blueprint for the plan to the Illinois Commerce Commission on March 5, 2012.
MAP was made possible by the passage of a 2011 state law called the Energy Infrastructure and Modernization Act. The law established a performance-based, "formula" method of setting electric delivery service rates. (This method is similar to that already used by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.)<br>
<li>Fixes timing issues, providing funds to utilities to make beneficial
investments when they are needed.</li>
<li>Allows for more predictability and less volatile rates for customers and
utilities - a systematic process open to all parties.</li>
<li>Retains strong Illinois Commerce Commission oversight, review and
<li>Annually reviews utility costs and investments through a regular and
During the implementation of MAP, we plan to create more than 450 jobs by 2015, the peak year of the 10-year plan. Positions from engineers to linemen and more will be needed to carry out the thousands of infrastructure projects. We've already begun to hire a workforce for the improvements set to take place in 2012. Hiring will continue this year and in the years to come. <a href="https://ameren.com/careers">See available positions</a>.
Smart grid refers to a suite of technologies - automation, remote control, computer processing and two-way communication - designed to bring our nation's energy infrastructure in line with the needs of customers in the 21st century. It involves technology that other industries, and customers, have been using for years. <a href="http://www.smartgrid.gov" target="_blank">Learn more</a>.<br>
As a delivery-only utility, Ameren Illinois is responsible for the grid components (transmission lines, substations and distribution lines) that carry power to your home or business. Our smart grid improvements are primarily focused on improving reliability and reducing outages.
The next generation of home metering equipment works with a smart grid to outsmart outages. Advanced Metering Infrastructure (sometimes called "smart" meters) allows for fast, two-way communication between the meter and the utility. It's designed to improve:
<li>Billing accuracy through automated reading</li>
<li>Reliability by alerting the utility to power outages</li>
<li>Convenience by speeding up service request</li>
<a href="/sites/aiu/MAP/Pages/NewMeters.aspx">More about advanced meters</a>.
Installation of the meters is slated to begin in late 2013. By the end of MAP in 2021, about 62% of our customers will have these meters in their homes.
Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) is designed to effectively capture and transmit data, such as usage and voltage of the meter. Ameren Illinois is fundamentally committed to safeguarding your privacy. Data collected will be used to:
<li>Bill customers for energy services.</li>
<li>Help Ameren Illinois troubleshoot and resolve problems with equipment or
<li>Analyze rates and rate structures and make rate offerings to better
match customer needs and energy use.</li>
<li>Enable customers to see usage data and assist customers in managing
Advanced meters do not transmit customer account numbers, names or other personal identifying information. Data transmitted from advanced meters will be covered by the same rigorous privacy and security protections as other account information. We treat personal information and other data about our customers as confidential, consistent with all legal and regulatory requirements.
MAP is a 10-year plan, so not all projects will happen at once. They will be phased in over the next decade. We are currently determining where and when many of the improvements will be made, and which customers will be affected. Please check our website often for up-to-date project information.<br>
Some of the projects scheduled to take place in 2012 include:
<li>Installing new underground distribution cables.</li>
<li>Reinforcing distribution poles susceptible to fail during storms.</li>
<li>Building a test network around Champaign, Ill., to showcase smart
grid-related technologies for businesses to perform research</li>
<a href="/sites/aiu/MAP/Documents/planned_2012projects.pdf" traget="_blank">See a map of our 2012 planned projects by county</a>.<br>
In addition, we'll be preparing our workforce to operate the electric grid we're modernizing by building a state-of-the-art training center in Belleville, Illinois, and updating our Decatur, Illinois, training facility.
Ameren Illinois is being held to high standards as we improve the way we provide electric service. We'll be required to meet performance improvement targets and make regular reports to the Illinois Commerce Commission.<br>
Our plan over the next 10 years is to enhance reliability, provide faster service and improve efficiency. During that time, Ameren Illinois' goal is to:
<li>Reduce the number of outages by 20%</li>
<li>Lessen the duration of outages by 15%</li>
<li>Decrease estimated billing by 56%</li>
<li>Reduce inactive meter usage by 56%</li>
Failure to meet these goals, as outlined in our MAP, will result in financial penalties against us.
Modernizing the electric grid is an ongoing process, and our MAP projects are important building blocks for the future. As new technologies - like electric vehicles and "smart" appliances - are adopted in the marketplace, customer needs will continue to evolve. Our energy infrastructure must continue to evolve with them. So while we power your day-to-day, we'll also focus forward on more ways to keep your energy safe, affordable and reliable...for life.