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Infrastructure Improvements Frequently Asked Questions
What is Ameren Illinois' plan for upgrading its energy delivery system?
A five year, $3.5 billion initiative to strengthen and improve our electric and natural gas delivery system. We are fortifying utility poles, installing automated switches and sensors, replacing distribution lines and gas transmission equipment, and installing advanced electric meters and natural gas modules throughout our 43,700-square-mile territory. These upgrades will improves service reliability and give customers information they can use to take control of their energy usage and costs.
What type of improvements will you make?
We will be focusing on six main areas of investment to meet your energy needs: <ol> <li>Reliability, repairs and replacements</li> <li>Advanced equipment</li> <li>Advanced meters</li> <li>Reducing energy loss</li> <li>Smart software</li> <li>Workforce education</li> </ol><br> Together, these improvements are designed to make your service smarter, safer, more reliable and more efficient.
What types of jobs will be available?
Since January 3, 2012, 250 Ameren Illinois workers and an additional 1,000 contract workers have been deployed to help build the next generation energy delivery system. Positions from engineers to linemen and more are being recruited to carry out thousands of infrastructure projects. <a href="http://ameren.com/careers">See available positions</a>.
What is a smart grid?
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 customer today and in the future. 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> <br> As a delivery-only utility, we are 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.
What can customers expect as the improvements take shape?
You will see our team and contractors hard at work building the next generation energy delivery system - strengthening the electric and natural gas infrastructure. From installing new, weather-tested poles and wires, to advanced technology that enables smart devices to communicate with one another, we'll be visible in communities throughout Central and Southern Illinois as we make these improvements. In time, the advanced upgrades will give you more information to help you better understand how you are spending money on energy and give you more control over your energy usage and costs.<br> <br> <a href="/sites/aiu/MAP/pages/ProjectMap.aspx" traget="_blank">See a map of our planned projects by county</a>.<br> <br> In addition, we are preparing our workforce to work on the advances that come with building the next generation energy delivery system. To support continuous training, we have a state-of-the-art training center in Belleville and an updated Decatur training facility.
How will your progress be measured?
We are being held to high standards as we improve the way we provide electric service. We are required to meet performance improvement targets and make regular reports to the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC).<br> <br> Our plan is to enhance reliability, provide faster service and improve efficiency. As we build the next generation energy delivery system and invest in our communities, our goal is to: <ul> <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> </ul><br> To be prudent in our efforts to upgrade the energy delivery system, we must keep our promise and demonstrate how we are improving your service. Our promise does not come without penalty. Failure to meet these goals will result in financial penalties against us.
What are the customer benefits?
Improving the electric grid and natural gas energy delivery system is an ongoing process, and our projects are important building blocks for the future. As new technologies - like electric vehicles and intuitive appliances - are adopted in the marketplace, customer needs will continue to evolve. Our energy infrastructure must continue to evolve with them. So while we energize your life with electric and natural gas, we are also focused forward. Looking at more ways to keep your energy safe, affordable and reliable...for life.
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