ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Ameren Missouri’s Smart Energy Plan has completed approximately 1,500 projects in the last two years. The projects are intended to modernize and upgrade through investments across the state to make sure more reliable energy is available throughout the state.
“Energy is more important to our customers and our economy than it’s ever been,” Ameren Missouri Vice President of Operations and Technical Services Kevin Anders said. “Overall, the reliability across Ameren Missouri is very, very good but we know that we have pockets on the system that reliability could and should improve and we direct those investments to that part of the system.”
The modernizations and upgrades completed throughout the 1,500 projects all play a part in helping Ameren Missouri keep the power grid stable and make sure Missourians don’t fall victim to what happened on Texas’ grid and caused millions of outages in mid-February.
“Whether you’re in Texas or here, a winter storm can be destructive,” Anders said. “We saw the system hold up pretty well in the severe weather.”
Anders said the most outages he saw at one time during the below-freezing winter weather across the state of Missouri were around 2,000 homes and businesses. Texas had millions of customers lose power.
“Just in a couple of years, we’re seeing our grid respond so much better to those storm events than they did previously, so we see less damage from a severe storm than we used,” Anders said. “It was very challenging, it was really cold, the amount of electric demand at that point in time was very high because it was so cold, so it stressed the grid to some degree but it held up well.”
Through the Smart Energy Plan, Ameren Missouri started construction on another project in January 2021. The Pershall Project is expected to bring more reliable energy to 3,600 families and businesses in the Florissant, Hazelwood, and Berkeley neighborhoods. Ameren Missouri said once the project is completed there should be fewer outages and faster power restoration. Ameren Missouri is installing smart switches, which help direct and reroute power to areas that are without, because of damage to the system.
“It’s really to modernize the grid here,” Anders said.
Ameren Missouri’s development of north county infrastructure happened in the 1950s, meaning some of the grid infrastructure is 70 years old.
The Pershall project includes installing storm-resistant poles, smart technology, replacing equipment and switching homes and businesses to a new substation that is under construction near Hanley and 270.
Beginning in March, customers in the area will go through 4-hour planned outages.
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