Back to Media Room

News Releases

Natural Gas System Delivers Reliability, Safety, Customer Savings During Recent Cold Snap

Ameren Illinois’ diversified portfolio, storage capabilities drive reliability and savings for customers

COLLINSVILLE, Ill. (JAN. 29, 2024) – Winter Storm Gerri's frigid temperatures from Jan. 13 to Jan.16 were no match for the reliability of the Ameren Illinois natural gas supply system as customers cranked up their thermostats to stay warm earlier this month.

Ameren Illinois' diversified natural gas portfolio, gas storage capabilities, and strategy of purchasing gas during the summer months when prices are cheaper, saved customers approximately $22 million because Ameren was able to limit purchases of natural gas on the open market when gas prices spiked during the cold spell.

Ameren Illinois delivers safe and reliable natural gas to more than 800,000 customers via 18,600 miles of transmission/distribution pipeline and a network of 12 underground storage fields. The system:  

  • Enables Ameren Illinois to purchase natural gas during the summer when demand and prices are lower
  • Store 24.2 billion cubic feet
  • Withdraw the gas during the winter to save customers money and meet customers' heating needs    

"Affordability of natural gas is a major priority of ours," said Vonda Seckler, director of natural gas supply for Ameren Illinois. "We have a diverse portfolio in place to provide nonstop affordable service to our customers. Approximately 90% of Ameren Illinois' winter natural gas usage is set at a known price. Gas is purchased far in advance at lower market prices, then stored for use during peak demand days. Market volatility becomes less of a concern and customers aren’t impacted by higher prices.

Temperatures averaged minus 9 degrees during the four-day period. The company reports that, on Jan. 14, its customers used the fourth highest volume of natural gas in one day since 2007. When temperatures dipped below the forecast, the load on the gas system increased beyond original expectations. Access to 10 different interstate transmission pipelines, 12 underground storage facilities, and additional leased storage means Ameren Illinois is prepared for peak demand during harsh winters.  

"Our entire organization worked in sync to prevent any significant service interruptions during Winter Storm Gerri. There were no major issues that impacted our system even as temperatures plunged into the negative digits," said Ameren Illinois President Lenny Singh. "Having this type of always-available, dispatchable energy takes on even greater significance in weather conditions like these and as we build toward a low-carbon future. 

“More households are reliant on gas to heat their home and power electricity to meet their energy needs during peak demand periods and high-impact events, placing an added burden on the natural gas pipeline network,” Singh added. “We cannot lose sight of our goal to provide energy to all customers 24/7/365. Natural gas is an essential part of the energy future. Using our extensive natural gas system to deliver new forms of energy such as hydrogen and renewable natural gas is a critical component of our ability to reach ambitious greenhouse gas reductions goals.”

About Ameren Illinois
Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and more than 800,000 natural gas customers throughout central and southern Illinois. Our service territory covers more than 1,200 communities and 43,700 square miles and our mission is to power the quality of life. For more information, visit AmerenIllinois.com. Follow us on Twitter @AmerenIllinois and Facebook.

Media contacts:
Karly Combest

Brian Bretsch