Ameren Energy Resources Company, LLC (AER), the holding company for merchant generation and its energy marketing services for Ameren Corporation, today announced that its Newton Plant, near Effingham, Ill, reached yet another safety milestone—one million work hours with no lost workday injuries.
The plant capped several years of top safety performance with this coveted milestone on Jan. 29, 2010, having already hit the two-year mark without a single lost-time accident. The 1200-megawatt plant began operating in 1977 with its first coal-fired unit and followed in 1982 with a second unit.
The million-work-hour milestone capped a multi-year initiative that involved hourly and management employees in a plant-wide initiative to ensure that workers returned home every day safely.
“Employees at Newton Plant should take great pride in this remarkable accomplishment,” said Newton Plant Manager Jim Williams. “We didn’t do this with flashy signs or brochures. We did this one day at a time with each and every coworker taking responsibility for his or her own safety and reminding colleagues about not taking short-cuts and not forgetting that safety is the most important consideration, day-in and day-out.”
Williams credits a committed group of hourly (union) leaders for their involvement. He also cites a 16-person safety committee that includes half hourly and half management employees for keeping plant employees aware of the importance of safety.
Newton Plant accomplished this as employees were charged with doing more with less—total employment at Newton was reduced from 204 in 2000 to 185 employees at year-end 2009.
Newton Plant employees also accomplished this while improving the plant’s environmental performance. To further reduce mercury emissions, in 2009, Newton joined AER’s E.D. Edwards Plant, near Peoria; its Meredosia Plant near Jacksonville; and its 80 percent-owned Joppa Plant in Joppa, Ill., in installing activated carbon injection systems. With activated carbon injection systems, powdered activated carbon absorbs the oxidized mercury from the flue gas, and the mercury is then collected with the fly ash in the plant’s particulate collection device. The plant has long been a leader in low nitrogen-oxide (NOx) emissions, installing controls first in mid-1990s and upgrading controls in 2001---often ranking among the nation's lowest NOx emitting plants without selective catalytic reduction systems, according to data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Ameren’s non-rate-regulated operations include AER’s Ameren Energy Generating Company’s and Ameren Energy Resources Generating Company’s six coal-fired plants plus multiple natural gas-fired units. In addition, AER includes Ameren Energy Medina Valley Cogen L.L.C., which operates a natural gas-fired facility in Mossville, Ill., and Ameren Energy Marketing Company (AEM). AEM is responsible for the marketing and trading portfolios of 11 generating facilities in Illinois and Missouri. AEM serves the power needs of utilities, municipalities, electric cooperatives, energy aggregators, business customers and financial institutions.
With assets of approximately $24 billion, Ameren companies serve 2.4 million electric customers and one million natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area of Missouri and Illinois.
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Contact: Susan Gallagher 314-554-2175, Brianne Lindemann 314-554-2738