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Ameren lists ideas for improving electrical service during storms

(UPI file photo/Bill Greenblatt)
In July, linemen worked for more than a week to restore service to customers following two severe thunderstorms.

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis – AmerenUE has given state utility regulators a wide-ranging list of ideas to improve the reliability of its power distribution system.

The company's suggestions include boosting the tree trimming budget by $15 million, burying some power lines, and rebuilding certain distribution circuits.

The Missouri Public Service Commission requested the report in December, after an ice storm knocked out power to much of the St. Louis area.

Ameren spokeswoman Susan Gallagher said the weather here has been more severe recently, and that means the power system needs to be more robust.

"It's something that we think needs to be done," Gallagher said. "And we know the commission believes it needs to be done. Because the number of reported weather events reported in Missouri alone is more than double what it was ten years ago."

Ameren says any upgrades will require more resources both from the company and its customers.

The company is asking the PSC for a $361 million rate hike in Missouri to offset rising production costs. But the commission staff says Ameren should cut rates because it's earning too much on shareholder investment.

PSC Chairman Jeff Davis said Ameren's ideas are a good first step.


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