Ameren continues electric grid upgrades in Macon County with work between Decatur and Argenta

OREANA Ameren Illinois crews began working this month to replace over 80 poles and power lines running roughly 4. 5 miles parallel to Illinois 48. . . The route east of the railroad tracks connects Ameren Illinois Oreana Substation between Decatur and Oreana to its substation on the north side of Argenta. . . Upgrades include installments of T-2 power lines consisting of two different wires twisted into one stronger line to better-withstand high winds and accumulation of ice on the overhead grid, according to an Ameren news release. . . Composite poles are also being placed strategically along the project route to help storm-harden the corridor, said Ameren Spokesperson Brian Bretsch. Every fifth pole is going to be made of highly-durable composite fiberglass to help withstand strong winds. The $3. 2 million plan also includes the removal of the vintage steel towers built around 1930. . . The project is expected to be completed in November. . . Brian Brackney, director of north electric operations for Ameren, in a statement said this upgrade is part of our overall statewide plan to build a cleaner, greener, more resilient grid. With these enhancements, Ameren Illinois is taking proactive steps to meet todays demand for reliable energy while preparing the grid for the future. Were excited to bring these enhancements to our customers in Macon County. . According to Bretsch, the latest project that will improve energy services for customers in Argenta and Oreana is part of an ongoing series of enhancements in the works since 2012. . The news release explained the multi-year initiative to modernize its energy delivery system includes hundreds of projects, new technology, strengthened poles, wires and distribution equipment that have since improved reliability by around 22% and reduced the time of power outages by 16%. . . Projects to help enhance the output and service in Macon County includes power grid upgrades beginning in 2014 of poles, switching systems and installation of smart meters in homes designed around cutting costs for customers. Improvements to the power grid were mandated by the 2012 Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act. . . Bretsch said smart switches and sensors installed onto Ameren power poles and substations in Decatur and Macon County have helped detect any faults that could occur on power lines or in our substations. . . What this technology does is these intellirupters talk back and forth and they run tests along the power lines, Bretsch said, explaining the process continues along each street grid until a source of a power outage is detected. In the past, a fault in a power line would require an Ameren lineman to be sent out and patrol the grid, taking more time compared to how fast the new technology will point out the issue. . Another recent upgrade was the improvement of a substation in Forsyth that served more than 2,500 customers. . . The latest project carries an estimated cost of $7. 5 million and contributes to long-term plans in constructing and improving Amerens power grids in Macon County. . . As for an upcoming project in the Decatur area, Ameren crews will be installing around 500 LED street lights with work beginning sometime in late-summer, Bretsch said. .

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