Officials with AmerenUE, a subsidiary of Ameren Corporation (NYSE: AEE), say that the company has sufficient resources\-both transmission and generation\-in place to meet the demand of its 1.2 million Missouri customers and to fulfill its 15 percent reserve margin requirement. The company's regional transmission system operator\-the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (MISO)\- sets AmerenUE's reserve margin requirement.
"From both a generation and energy delivery perspective, we are ready to meet our customers' needs this summer," said Ameren Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Tom Voss. "We have achieved this through careful management of company resources and a lot of hard work."
AmerenUE's $2.5 billion investment includes significant projects to add electricity generating capacity and to expand and upgrade its transmission and delivery systems, including a series of major mid-Missouri transmission system upgrades.
Recent projects include:
• Building nearly 80 miles of new transmission lines in central Missouri to enhance reliability and provide for future growth.
• Performing three upgrades to existing transmission lines in the St. Louis metropolitan area that reduce the need for new right-of-way and new transmission towers in this heavily-populated area.
• Building a new feeder line to provide for load growth north of Forest Park, performing voltage upgrades in the Clayton/Brentwood area and a substation upgrade in north St. Louis, and building a new feeder line to provide more capacity for the Page/Olive commercial and industrial area.
• Adding nearly $9 million in new substations and upgrades in the St. Charles and Wentzville areas, and performing another $8.4 million in substation projects in the Jefferson County area.
• Replacing 109 poles and correcting other conditions to improve transformer capacity in the Excelsior Springs area, performing electric line improvements at several substations in the Kirksville area, building a major new substation near Ashland to enhance reliability in central and southern Boone County, and building two transmission line extensions to provide an alternate electricity supply and greater reliability in the Farmington area.
On the distribution side of its business, AmerenUE in 2005 increased its tree- trimming budget by 27 percent to $30 million in Missouri alone. Despite major storms that have hit the company's Missouri service area, in 2005 more than half of AmerenUE's customers experienced only one or no outages during the course of the year. In addition, according to the J.D. Power Residential Customer Satisfaction Survey for 2005, AmerenUE ranks better than its industry peers in the Midwest in the number of brief power outages, the number of lengthy outages and the average length of the longest outage.
AmerenUE is also a leader in using technology to maintain system reliability\- with state-of-the-art technology that scans voltages and currents at various locations on its transmission system and constant monitors and communicates real-time information on supply and demand and energy movements. The company has also recently upgraded its storm center to improve monitoring capabilities and installed better displays that allow Ameren to improve its response and reaction time to storm damage, while a new software application has improved the tracking and allocation of resources during storms.
In order to ensure its supply of electricity, AmerenUE closed on the purchase of three natural-gas-fired peaking units in March 2006. These units, purchased for about $300 million, will allow the company to meet its reserve requirements for the next decade. In 2005, the company's generating plants also exceeded their past performance levels by achieving record generation, availability and safety records.
AmerenUE's peak system demand typically occurs on the hottest summer days when air conditioners drive up electricity usage. Last summer, AmerenUE's peak demand was 8,463 megawatts. ("Peak demand" is the maximum load placed on the AmerenUE system) With the purchase of the new combustion turbines, AmerenUE's total generating capacity now stands at nearly 9,932 megawatts.
AmerenUE is a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation. Ameren companies serve 2.4 million electric customers and nearly one million natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area of Missouri and Illinois.
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