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AGA Recognizes 3 Ameren Employees With Research and Innovation Award
Process can identify potential hazards in customers' homes

COLLINSVILLE, Ill. (JULY 2, 2024) – The American Gas Association (AGA), a national organization of which Ameren Corporation is a member, recently honored three Ameren employees for using customer gas usage data to proactively identify natural gas leaks at customers' residences.

Ameren's Jeff Berry, Scott Lithgow, and Scott Hixson created a process to pull natural gas usage data from a customer's advanced meter and flag usage patterns indicative of a potential natural gas leak. In its first year of implementation, 93 gas leaks were identified before the customers noticed and reported it to the utility. Ameren contacted each customer and performed a leak investigation prior to crews arriving to make any necessary repairs.

"Our customers know the importance of calling us if they smell gas in and around the home," said Eric Kozak, vice president of Natural Gas Operations for Ameren Illinois. "This project demonstrated that we could leverage advanced metering data for early detection and do even more to ensure customer safety. Congratulations to Jeff Berry, Scott Hixson and Scott Lithgow for this well-deserved honor."

Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) is an integrated network system that enables a two-way flow of information between utilities and customers. Ameren has installed 1.2 million electric and more than 800,000 natural gas smart devices at customer premises since 2014. The Ameren team focused on developing parameters for:

  • Using existing AMI data to develop an algorithm that detects irregular natural gas usage.
  • Evaluating irregularities and dispatch field responders.
  • Responding to customer premises and conducting investigations of natural gas facilities unreported or unprompted by the customer.
  • Reporting investigation results and overall status of the initiative to stakeholders. 

In presenting the Ameren team with its award for research and innovation, AGA leaders noted that the process the team developed is scalable across the natural gas utility sector. The company also noted that the same process identified 55 water leaks at customer homes.

Media Contacts:

Brian Bretsch

Karly Combest