March 15 (Reuters) - The Illinois Senate voted to put the state's electric grid modernization efforts back on track to improve reliability and create jobs, the local unit of U.S. power company Ameren Corp said.
In 2011, the Illinois legislature passed a law that provided incentives for utilities like Ameren Illinois to upgrade the state's electric infrastructure.
Ameren Illinois said in a release late on Thursday that it had committed to spend $625 million and add about 450 jobs over 10 years to install automated sensors to detect outages and advanced metering, and construct a new training center, among other things.
But Ameren said it postponed the deployment of some projects after the Illinois Commerce Commission, which regulates the state's utilities, reduced the company's funding.
"Simply put, this legislation enables us to fill the jobs we have available and make the full breadth of needed infrastructure improvements because we'll have certainty that these investments will be recovered," Ameren Illinois Chief Executive Officer Richard Mark said in the release.
A companion bill was approved by the House Public Utilities Committee this week by a vote of 21-0, Ameren said. The full House is expected take up the measure later this session.
Exelon Corp's Commonwealth Edison unit is the other big power company in Illinois that will also upgrade its infrastructure.
Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and 813,000 natural gas customers in downstate Illinois.