Illinois' electric modernization plan approved by legislature; bill heads to Gov. Quinn's desk

Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:40pm EDT

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SB 9 unleashes $625 million for infrastructure improvements and creates hundreds
of jobs for central and southern Illinois








COLLINSVILLE, Ill.,  March 21, 2013/PRNewswire/ -- The  Illinois  House of
Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation today that creates hundreds
of jobs for Central and  Southern Illinois  and modernizes  Illinois' electric
grid aimed at improving reliability and reducing outages. Senate Bill 9
clarifies a 2011 law that significantly accelerated upgrades to the state's
aging electric infrastructure. The measure, which passed the Senate last week,
now heads to Gov.  Pat Quinn's desk for approval.     

"I would like to personally thank Speaker Madigan and Senate President Cullerton
for their leadership to help modernize  Illinois' energy infrastructure," said 
Richard Mark, president and CEO of Ameren Illinois. "It's clear that the
Leadership and members of the General Assembly recognize the benefits of
creating jobs, improving reliability and building a 21st Century energy delivery
system. This legislation will help put thousands of people to work statewide to
modernize the state's electrical grid, which will ultimately reduce costs for
customers."   

Under the 2011 modernization law, Ameren Illinois launched its Modernization
Action Plan (MAP) to create 450 jobs and invest an additional  $625 million 
over a 10-year period to improve the reliability and performance of its electric
delivery infrastructure. The utility initiated plans to hire hundreds of new
workers, strengthen poles, replace cables and deploy new technology such as
intelligent switches and sensors that can detect and isolate outages for faster
service restoration. However, many of the MAP projects and hiring plans were
delayed when state regulators would not enable the investments to be fully
recovered by the company. Predictable cost recovery is needed to enable the
utilities to raise capital and borrow money at reasonable rates to make
long-term investments and modernization plans.  

"Senate Bill 9 will inject new life into economies in Central and  Southern
Illinois," said Mark, who thanked the broad coalition of labor unions, employers
and contractors for their support.   

"The Illinois AFL-CIO strongly supports SB 9. We urge Gov. Quinn to sign it into
law," added Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael T. Carrigan. "The electric grid
modernization and the proposed Natural Gas Modernization, Public Safety and Jobs
Act  (SB 1665 - Sen.  Dave Koehler  and HB 2414 -  Rep.  Brandon Phelps) are as
important to growing the central and southern  Illinois  economy as upgrading
our roads, bridges, airports, and water systems. Residents, small business
owners and local governments will pay more tomorrow if we defer our obligations
to invest in our infrastructure today."

Strong regulatory oversight and consumer protections remain in the electric
legislation, which holds participating utilities to strict performance metrics.
As a result, customers will see increased reliability, faster restoration times
after outages, reductions in estimated bills, and opportunities to exercise
cost-saving control of the energy they use.

"We have a unique opportunity to position  Illinois  as a national leader in
energy innovation," Mark said. "We urge the Governor to enact SB 9. Together we
can fulfill the mission to create 'Illinois Jobs Now'."

Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and 813,000 natural gas
customers in downstate  Illinois, and our mission is to meet their energy needs
in a safe, reliable, efficient and environmentally responsible manner. Our
service area covers more than 1,200 communities and 43,700 square miles.  

For more information, visit  AmerenIllinois.com  or find us on  Twitter
@AmerenIllinois.com. For more information on the  Natural Gas Modernization,
Public Safety and Jobs Act, visit  EnergyFutureIL.com.  



SOURCE  Ameren Illinois


Leigh Morris, +1-217-535-5228, lmorris@ameren.com; Tucker Kennedy,
+1-309-677-5489, tkennedy3@ameren.com

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