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Ameren Missouri To Invest $5 Billion To Improve Statewide Electrical Grid

Ameren Missouri
Ameren workers will install smart-grid technology in the utility's $5 billion plan to upgrade the state's electrical grid.

Ameren Missouri is planning $5 billion worth of improvements to its energy grid, company officials announced Friday.

The Smart Energy Plan includes 2,000 electric projects to be completed during the next five years, including a new substation in Hazelwood and upgrades to the underground grid that serves downtown St. Louis. The utility also plans to spend $1 billion on wind energy in 2020.

“We’re modernizing this grid to benefit customers today as well as future generations to come,’’ Ameren President Michael Moehn said. “We’re engaging in over 2,000 projects, building a smarter, more reliable, cleaner energy grid.’’

The plan would be Ameren’s largest upgrade in its 100-year history, Moehn said.

Upgrades include smart-grid equipment that would improve Ameren’s ability to detect and isolate power outages. That should decrease the amount of time customers are without power.

The company also plans to install 12,000 new utility poles fortified with composite materials to better withstand severe storms.

Ameren filed the proposal with the state Public Service Commission on Thursday. It will hold a public meeting on the plan on March 4 in Jefferson City.

Ameren Missouri serves 1.2 million electric and 130,000 natural-gas customers in central and eastern Missouri. The company’s service area covers 24,000 square miles in 64 counties and includes the greater St. Louis area.

Follow Mary Delach Leonard on Twitter: @marydleonard

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Mary Delach Leonard is a veteran journalist who joined the St. Louis Beacon staff in April 2008 after a 17-year career at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where she was a reporter and an editor in the features section. Her work has been cited for awards by the Missouri Associated Press Managing Editors, the Missouri Press Association and the Illinois Press Association. In 2010, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis honored her with a Spirit of Justice Award in recognition of her work on the housing crisis. Leonard began her newspaper career at the Belleville News-Democrat after earning a degree in mass communications from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, where she now serves as an adjunct faculty member. She is partial to pomeranians and Cardinals.