ST. LOUIS, Nov. 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- AmerenUE, the Missouri utility operating company of Ameren Corporation (NYSE: AEE), today announced that the company has engaged Ozark Constructors, LLC, to rebuild the company's Taum Sauk pumped storage hydroelectric plant upper reservoir -- assuming successful resolution of outstanding issues with authorities of the state of Missouri.
Ozark Constructors is a venture partnership formed by ASI Constructors, Inc., and St. Louis-based Fred Weber, Inc. Established in 1978, ASI, based in Pueblo West, CO, is a heavy civil contractor specializing exclusively in the construction and rehabilitation of dams, spillways and major water resources. Over its 80-year history, Fred Weber has grown from a small family-owned business to a 1,650 employee-owned company with mining, aggregate processing and heavy civil construction expertise.
AmerenUE also announced that Paul Rizzo Associates, Inc., was selected engineer of record and project manager. RIZZO is a world-recognized engineering and construction management firm for dams.
"We are confident that the combination of ASI's dam construction experience with Fred Weber, Inc.'s expertise, union craft depth and essential St. Louis infrastructure presence, will be an outstanding project team to successfully reconstruct the Taum Sauk upper reservoir," says Thomas R. Voss, AmerenUE president and chief executive officer. "AmerenUE would not consider returning this plant to service if company officials were not absolutely certain that the new design met, or exceeded, all safety criteria required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). After much analysis, we are now confident that this plant can be returned to service and operated safely to restore a critical source of reliable power to our customers."
In February of 2007, AmerenUE submitted plans and an environmental report to the FERC to rebuild the upper reservoir of the plant, assuming successful resolution of outstanding issues with authorities of the state of Missouri. In August 2007, AmerenUE received approval from FERC to rebuild the upper reservoir; should the Taum Sauk plant be rebuilt, AmerenUE would expect it to be out of service through at least the fall of 2009, if not longer.
Since the company first announced its intent to rebuild in early 2007, AmerenUE has stressed that the reservoir would be rebuilt following criteria used in current dam design and construction practice. The upper reservoir would be constructed with roller compacted concrete (RCC) based upon a Paul Rizzo & Associates design, which has received FERC's approval.
Voss also noted that insurance is expected to cover substantially all the costs of the rebuild. He pointed to the plant's economic impact on the nearby community as a source of employment and significant local tax revenue.
The selection of contractors comes almost two years after the Dec. 14, 2005, breach in the plant's upper reservoir that caused significant flooding in the Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park. Built in 1963, AmerenUE's Taum Sauk Plant, as a "pumped-storage" hydroelectric plant, stored water from the Black River in the upper reservoir atop a mountain and released the water to generate electricity when power was needed.
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 over a 64,000-square-mile area of Missouri and Illinois.
Statements in this release not based on historical facts are considered "forward-looking" and, accordingly, involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed. Although such forward-looking statements have been made in good faith and are based on reasonable assumptions, there is no assurance that the expected results will be achieved. These statements include (without limitation) statements as to future expectations, beliefs, plans, strategies, objectives, events, conditions, and financial performance. In connection with the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, we are providing this cautionary statement to identify important factors in addition to those discussed elsewhere in this release and in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission that could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations as suggested by such forward- looking statements:
-- regulatory or legislative actions, including changes in regulatory policies; -- changes in laws and other governmental actions, including monetary and fiscal policies; -- disruptions of the capital markets or other events that make access to necessary capital more difficult or costly; -- generation plant construction, installation and performance, including costs associated with AmerenUE's Taum Sauk pumped-storage hydroelectric plant incident and the plant's future operation; -- recoverability through insurance of costs associated with AmerenUE's Taum Sauk pumped-storage hydroelectric plant incident; -- the inability of our counterparties and affiliates to meet their obligations with respect to contracts and financial instruments; -- legal and administrative proceedings; and -- acts of sabotage, war, terrorism or intentionally disruptive acts.
Given these uncertainties, undue reliance should not be placed on these forward-looking statements. Except to the extent required by the federal securities laws, we undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect new information, future events, or otherwise.
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