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Ameren Illinois Modernizes Electric Grid in Macon County

March 18, 2021
Linemen are installing new poles and power lines as part of the upgrade project in Illinois.

Ameren Illinois is modernizing the local energy grid to enhance service reliability for customers in the northeast portion of Macon County.

Beginning in early March, Ameren Illinois contractors started replacing more than 80 poles and power lines on the east side of the railroad tracks that run parallel to Illinois Route 48. The nearly 4.5-mile route connects from Ameren Illinois' Oreana Substation between Decatur and Oreana to its Argenta Substation on the north side of Argenta. The crews are installing T-2 power lines along the route. T-2 lines consist of two different wires that are twisted together to make one, stronger power line that is better able to withstand high winds and help reduce ice accumulation on the overhead grid. 

Crews will also storm harden the corridor by strategically placing composite poles along the project route. Approximately, every fifth pole will be made of composite fiberglass, which is able to better withstand high winds during storms. In addition, the plan calls for the removal of all the vintage steel towers, which were constructed around 1930. The $3.2 million project is scheduled to be completed in early November.  

"This upgrade is part of our overall statewide plan to build a cleaner, greener, more resilient grid," said Brian Brackney, Director North Electric Operations, Ameren Illinois. "With these enhancements, Ameren Illinois is taking proactive steps to meet today's demand for reliable energy while preparing the grid for the future. We're excited to bring these enhancements to our customers in Macon County."

The enhancements are part of Ameren Illinois' multi-year initiative to modernize its energy delivery system. Since 2012, the company has implemented hundreds of projects, added new technology and strengthened poles, wires and distribution equipment.  As a result, reliability has improved by an average of 22 percent and the time of an outage has been reduced by 16%.

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