US utility Ameren Illinois plans to improve its service reliability by replacing existing analog gas and electric meters with smart meters in four counties in Illinois.In a press statement, the utility firm said it plans to improve its customer service to some 15, 400 residential and small business customers by equipping them with the new digital meters.
The company will begin the installation of the two-way communication system to serve its customers in Bureau, Henry, Knox and Stark counties as from this December through to 2017.
Daetta Jones, division director for Ameren Illinois in the four Illinois counties, said: “This advanced technology will provide our customers with access to more choices for pricing options and energy efficiency tools to help them manage their energy usage and better control their costs.”
Together with utility’s automated switches and grid sensors, the new smart meters will help Ameren Illinois to quickly identify grid failures and reduce the duration of power outages.
Digital meters and smart grid deployment
The smart meters project falls under efforts by Ameren Illinois to modernise its grid network through adoption of smart grid technologies to line up with consumer demands, environmental and other regulatory mandates.
Since 2012, the utility firm has improved the reliability of its services by 17% and helped its customers to save over $48 million a year in electricity bills through the use of smart grid technologies.
[quote] “Enhancing reliability and providing access to energy information is going to be an energy- and cost-saving advantage for our customers in the future,” added Jones.
In August, Ameren Illinois announced its plan to implement an automated metering infrastructure project to optimise its operations in Logan County.
The metering project was kickstarted in late August and includes the replacement of 15,500 electric and gas analog meters with new smart meters. [Illinois utility accelerated AMI rollout plan approved].
The replacement of the analog meters with smart digital meters will force the power company to use web-based and mobile applications to allow consumers to view their energy usage online and in real time.The upgrade project will be implemented in 24 towns including Atlanta, Midland city and Middletown.