Ameren Illinois has taken initial action in the implementation of its Modernization Action Plan (MAP) that will provide customers with an improved, more reliable and modernized electric distribution system.

"Today's filing with the Illinois Commerce Commission marks the beginning of an initiative that will enable Ameren Illinois to modernize its electric distribution system over the next 10 years in order to meet the service expectations of our customers in the 21st century," said Craig Nelson, senior vice president of Ameren Illinois.

Key points of the Modernization Action Plan include:

  • Investing an additional $625 million in the Ameren Illinois electric delivery system over the next 10 years.
  • Creating 450 new jobs during the peak program year.
  • Improving service reliability through measurable delivery system improvements, including greater use of advanced distribution system automation, the modernization and expansion of electric substations and the installation of new transformers.
  • Benefitting customers by significantly reducing the number of electric service outages as well as the shortening the length of outages that do occur.
  • Providing new and expanded ways for customers to take greater control of their energy expenditures, including the deployment of about 750,000 automated "smart" meters and expanded energy efficiency initiatives.
  • Failing to meet the goals will cause penalties to be assessed against Ameren Illinois.

"Our initiative was made possible by the Illinois Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act, which was enacted last October," Nelson said. "Customers will benefit through improved service reliability and a greater potential for energy savings. The law also is designed to provide greater regulatory certainty and financial stability for participating utilities.

"In addition, companion legislation to the Illinois Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act will require us to provide $10 million in assistance programs over the next 10 years for low-income customers, senior citizens, active members of the armed services and reserved forces, and disabled veterans," Nelson said.

The filing made today with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) uses the performance-based formula rate-setting method. If approved by the ICC, the new rates are expected to take effect in October.

The performance-based formula rate-setting method was made possible when a supermajority of the Illinois General Assembly voted on Oct. 26, 2011, to enact the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act. Ameren Illinois supported enactment of this legislation.

As a result of today's filing, the electric delivery service rate case filed by Ameren Illinois on Feb. 18, 2011, was withdrawn.

Beginning Feb. 1, Ameren Illinois customers will be able to see how the proposed rates would impact them for a full year by using the rate estimator at IllinoisRateFacts.com. Also beginning Feb. 1, this information will be available by calling Customer Service at 1-800-755-5000.

The ICC will have 270 days for a complete review of today's Ameren Illinois filing. As with previous filings, the ICC staff and other groups and individuals may participate in the ICC rate-setting process as set forth in the ICC's rules. Additional information is available at the ICC website (icc.illinois.gov).