Illinois State Legislature Approves Grid Modernization Plan

The Illinois House of Representatives yesterday voted overwhelmingly to overturn Governor Pat Quinn's veto of Senate Bill 9, legislation that accelerates the ability for Ameren Illinois to make improvements to the electric grid and create hundreds of new jobs.  The Senate took the same action yesterday.

"Members of the General Assembly have been steadfast in calling for the development of an energy delivery system that meets today's needs and prepares the state for future economic growth," said Richard J. Mark, President and CEO, Ameren Illinois.  "I want to thank the Illinois Senate and House of Representatives for their support.  This action will benefit consumers, create jobs, and inject new life into economies in Central and Southern Illinois."

After the original law (SB 1652) was passed in 2011, Ameren Illinois launched its Modernization Action Plan (MAP) to create 450 jobs and invest an additional $640 million over a 10-year period to improve the reliability and performance of its electric delivery infrastructure. The utility initiated plans to hire hundreds workers to install advanced meters, strengthen poles, replace cables and deploy new technology such as intelligent switches and sensors that can detect and isolate outages for faster service restoration.  

"Lawmakers have taken the necessary action in making sure that the creation of good paying jobs remains a top priority in Illinois," said Michael T. Carrigan, president of the Illinois AFL-CIO, which represents nearly 900,000 members.  "This legislation will not only result in new jobs but also modernize and upgrade aging infrastructure, spur economic development and make Illinois competitive with other states."

The updated legislation maintains strong regulatory oversight and consumer rate protections and holds participating utilities to the achievement of strict performance metrics.  

"We plan to continue to make prudent investments in our electric system and manage costs," said Mark, who noted that delivery rates for Ameren Illinois residential customers are projected to decrease in 2014 by approximately $30 million."

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