Ameren Illinois to Significantly Enhance Efficiency of Electricity Delivery
Statement from EDF’s Christie Hicks, CUB’s David Kolata, NRDC’s Toba Pearlman, and Ameren Illinois’ Richard J. Mark
(CHICAGO, IL) The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) today approved Ameren Illinois’ voltage optimization plan, which will reduce energy consumption and system losses, save customers money, and help the downstate electric utility meet its energy efficiency goals.
To ensure appropriate voltage levels are maintained for all customers on a given electric line, utilities typically maintain voltage levels at the upper end of the acceptable range. With the advent of new, cost-effective sensors, controls, and communication systems, Ameren Illinois can now maintain voltage levels at a lower acceptable voltage level throughout an electric line, which will reduce unneeded energy usage and system losses. By lowering the voltage with sensors and controls, customers only use the energy they need, which lowers electricity bills and helps build a cleaner, more efficient energy system.
Ameren Illinois’ plan exceeds the voltage optimization requirements established by the Future Energy Jobs Act, the historic clean energy legislation Illinois passed in 2016. Additionally, thanks to the collaborative efforts of Ameren Illinois, Environmental Defense Fund, the Citizens Utility Board, Natural Resource Defense Council, ICC staff, and other stakeholders, the plan includes agreed-upon methods and an updated timeline for measuring results. Additionally, Ameren Illinois will prioritize lowering voltage on electric lines in low-income communities.
“Voltage optimization is another step in our long-range plan to build a smarter grid and drive energy efficiency in central and southern Illinois. We’re excited to implement these system enhancements in communities and neighborhoods whose residents will benefit the most.”
- Richard J. Mark, Chairman and President, Ameren Illinois
“Voltage optimization is a smart way for utilities to cut energy waste, leading to cleaner air and lower electricity bills for Illinoisans. Ameren Illinois’ plan represents a big step forward on efficiency, especially for those who stand to benefit the most.”
- Christie Hicks, Senior Attorney, Clean Energy, EDF
“We are pleased that Ameren Illinois has taken a key step toward making its power grid more efficient and affordable. We look forward to working with the utility to find even more ways to improve efficiency and reduce electric bills for customers across Central and Southern Illinois.”
- David Kolata, Executive Director, CUB
“Although most people have likely never heard of voltage optimization, it is a simple and cost-effective solution will have widespread benefits for Ameren Illinois’ customers. Today’s ICC order will also help Ameren Illinois find innovative and low cost solutions using voltage optimization for even more customer savings in the future.”
- Toba Pearlman, staff attorney and clean energy advocate, NRDC
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Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships. Twitter, Facebook, and our Energy Exchange blog.
The Citizens Utility Board is Illinois’ leading nonprofit utility watchdog. Created by the Illinois Legislature, CUB opened its doors in 1984 to represent the interests of residential and small-business utility customers. Since then, it has saved consumers more than $20 billion by helping to block rate hikes and secure refunds. For more information, call CUB’s Consumer Hotline, 1-800-669-5556, or visit its award-winning website, www.CitizensUtilityBoard.org.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.
Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and 816,000 natural gas customers in central and southern Illinois. The company is devoting $114 million per year to help customers reduce energy and save money on their energy bills, and expanding access to energy efficiency programs and services for moderate-to-low income customers. For more information, visit AmerenIllinois.com, find us on Twitter @AmerenIllinois or Facebook.