Image: Ameren Missouri

Grid modernisation with deployment of over 1 million smart meters over the next five years are at the heart of Ameren Missouri’s smart energy plan.

Other key components of the plan include more renewable generation, programmes to stimulate economic growth for communities and infrastructure upgrades that bolster reliability.

Ameren Missouri, a subsidiary of Ameren Corporation, has filed its updated Smart Energy Plan and budget with the Missouri Public Service Commission.

“The Smart Energy Plan is preparing our region for the future while making energy more reliable for families and businesses today,” said Marty Lyons, president of Ameren Missouri.

“We have made great progress in the first two years of this plan. These upgrades provide state-of-the-art technology and support our commitment to maintaining reliability as we transition to cleaner energy, including our ambitious goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

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Currently in its third year of implementation, Ameren Missouri’s Smart Energy Plan progress includes smart technology that can rapidly detect outages and restore service in seconds, as well as new storm-resilient utility poles, power lines and underground cables designed to protect customers from outages during severe weather.

In 2020, the utility installed more than 200 smart equipment switches to reduce outages which have improved reliability up to 40%, 14 new or upgraded substations and 133,000 smart meters.

Following the start of the smart meter rollout in the summer, Ameren Missouri anticipates upgrading its approximately 1.2 million electricity meters by 2024.

Ameren Missouri also recently completed the purchase of its first two wind facilities to become the largest operator of wind generation in the state. The company has plans to significantly expand its wind and solar generation over the coming years.

A notable feature of the plan is an emphasis on local development and over half of the vendors are Missouri based.

Ameren Missouri also says it has been able to keep rates stable and affordable for customers during the upgrade, with customer rates more than 20% below the average electric rates in the Midwest.

Ameren Missouri serves 1.2 million electric and 132,000 natural gas customers in central and eastern Missouri.