EDWARDSVILLE — Ameren will no longer distribute electricity within the Edwardsville campus after a vote by the Southern Illinois University board of trustees Thursday.
Under the new agreement, SIU Edwardsville will become responsible for operation, maintenance and repair of its own electrical system.
The vote terminates the arrangement with Ameren, which has existed since the campus opened, that Ameren would own and operate the wires, switches and transformers for each building while the university owned the power conduits and manholes.
The university will pay $600,000 out of its facilities fees to acquire the system and equipment throughout the campus.
"We think this is a good deal for us," said Rich Walker, vice chancellor for administration.
SIUE was already buying its electricity separately through a consortium of other universities, which saved a significant amount of money, Walker said.
Under the new arrangement, Ameren's distribution ends at a single point at the property line. That will save SIUE $700,000 a year, Walker said.
It also will not require much additional staff, Walker said. "We have electricians and engineers on staff already," he said. "What we don't have is someone who specializes in high-voltage electricity."
In addition, SIUE can conduct its own maintenance and upgrades, and has a strong history of preventive maintenance, he said.
"If we own it, we can schedule and implement a replacement project over time," Walker said. "If Ameren owns it, they will fix it when it breaks. They're very good at responding to those breaks, but it shuts down the campus."
The board of trustees also approved hiring an engineering consultant to develop a plan to replace and upgrade electrical system components, Walker said. No price estimate for the work was available until the report is done, he said.
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