Ameren Illinois’ smart grid plan rejected by Illinois Commerce Commission


Springfield, IL, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — May 31, 2012 – Ameren Illinois’ Smart Grid Advanced Metering Infrastructure Plan has been rejected by the Illinois Commerce Commission on the grounds that it failed to show that it would deliver a cost benefit to customers.

According to a statement, Ameren was required under the state’s Public Utilities Act to prove that the plan will be cost-beneficial, i.e. that the present value of the total benefits of the plan exceed the present value of the total costs. In addition the plan should include a vision statement consistent with developing a cost-beneficial smart grid.   

However, the Commission determined that the cost-benefit analysis presented by the company relied on incomplete or speculative calculations and that regardless of those calculations, the plan could not be approved because it would have to rely on either including gas meters or a compliance period longer than the ten years, neither of which is allowed in the statute.

The Commission also felt the plan was “vague and incomplete” and bordered on not being a plan at all, but rather a more of a general statement of intention to install smart meters in some parts of its service territory.

Ameren Illinois plans to deploy about 780,000 advanced electric meters as a key element of 10-year, $625-million infrastructure improvement and modernization initiative.

As yet the company has not commented. However, the decision has been welcomed by the Illinois Citizens Utility Board, saying that it is cautiously optimistic that high-tech upgrades to the power grid could save consumers money and improve reliability in the long run, but it has to be done right.