O'Fallon Progress

Ameren Illinois adds outage detection technology to O’Fallon’s power grid

Ameren Illinois crews inspect a newly installed IntelliRupter tied into the grid supporting O’Fallon. The crews were working in the 1400 block of Frontage Road in town.
Ameren Illinois crews inspect a newly installed IntelliRupter tied into the grid supporting O’Fallon. The crews were working in the 1400 block of Frontage Road in town.

Reliability has improved an average of 17 percent as a result of Ameren Illinois’ most recent reliability project that has added new outage detection technology in six locations across its power grid in O’Fallon — saving customers an estimated $48 million a year in utility costs.

“Since 2012, Ameren Illinois has implemented hundreds of reliability projects across Illinois,” Ameren Illinois representative Brian Bretsch said.

The company spent the spring and summer installing outage detection technology to six different circuits in town.

Since 2014, Ameren Illinois has installed 17 IntelliRupters to the grid in and around O’Fallon alone, according to Bretsch.

“We installed 11 in O’Fallon and three in Shiloh this year,” Bretsch said.

“To date, we have added nearly 400 IntelliRupters to the statewide electric grid,” he said.

These devices, known as IntelliRupters, sense the condition of the electric system and determine appropriate switching actions to reduce the number of customers affected by an outage, working in tandem with other outage detection devices to isolate the outage and reduce the length of the disruption.

“They are computerized devices featuring outage detection technology that communicates with other IntelliRupters, in this case in O’Fallon, and our dispatch office. The technology automatically reroutes, or switches, power supplies in the event of a fault on the power line to a different circuit in the system,” he said.

Switching enables Ameren Illinois to re route power from another circuit.

“The easiest way to explain how it works is to imagine it being like a circuit breaker in your home. Only, the IntelliRupter, is self-aware. It’s able to tell dispatch that is has detected a fault instantly, and, when it does, isolate it and switch power to a different circuit,” Bretsch added.

Weighing about 1,000 pounds per IntelliRupter, Bretsch said it is not an easy feat to install.

Crew members worked more than 2,500 hours to complete these projects to upgrade service reliability for O’Fallon customers.

“These projects are a key step in our long range plans to fortify the electric delivery system and improve overall reliability,” Ray Riddle, director of Division Operations for Ameren Illinois (serving O’Fallon), said.

“The grid is evolving and we’re excited to bring these enhancements to our customers in the region,” he said.

Locations for IntelliRupters include:

O’Fallon

▪ 1400 block of Frontage Road

▪ North Lincoln Avenue (three)

▪ U.S. Hwy. 50 (two)

▪ South Lincoln Avenue (two)

▪ Third Street

▪ Pierce Blvd.

▪ Cambridge Blvd.

Shiloh

▪ Cross Street

▪ South Main Street

▪ Siebert Road.

The utility projects have added more than 800 employees, and more than 1,200 Illinois based contract workers who are supporting Ameren Illinois projects.

About Ameren Illinois Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and 816,000 natural gas customers throughout central and southern Illinois, Our service territory covers more than 1,200 communities and 43,700 square miles and our mission is to power the quality of life. For more information, visit AmerenIllinois.com. Follow us on Twitter @AmerenIllinois and Facebook.

Robyn L. Kirsch: 618-239-2690, @BND_RobynKirsch

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