Ameren Missouri has announced the beginning of a project to upgrade electric meters throughout Missouri as part of its Smart Energy Plan.
The company began its upgrades at a Habitat for Humanity home in St. Charles on Thursday, beginning a multi-year effort to upgrade more than 1.2 million meters and 130,000 gas modules across the state. The new meters will improve the reliability of information relayed from the meters to Ameren, according to the company.
“With a new smart meter, customers will get more precise energy-use information to help them better understand how and when they use energy, which can help them use it more efficiently,” Jeff Esserman, director of the smart meter program at Ameren Missouri, said. “They will be able to choose from a range of expanded rate options, which will offer flexibility to pay less when using energy during off-peak hours when demand for energy is lower.”
The upgrades allow Ameren to quickly receive data from the meters to identify problems and solve them faster. St. Charles is set to receive 12,000 upgraded meters throughout the county before the project moves on to St. Louis County and other areas of the state.
“We work to build affordable and sustainable housing for our families, and look for ways to make them energy efficient to reduce homeowners’ monthly costs,” Habitat for Humanity of St. Charles County Executive Director Michelle Woods said. “We appreciate that Ameren Missouri is thinking about how smart meters and other technologies can help customers manage their energy use better.”
Ameren’s Smart Energy Plan includes the investment of $7.6 billion into various projects such as grid modernization over a five-year span. The plan is an effort to improve energy efficiency and increase clean energy use, according to Ameren Missouri President Marty Lyons.
“We identified projects that will provide more reliable, affordable energy for our customers and help reduce carbon emissions to benefit our environment,” said Lyons. “Through these efforts, we are building a cleaner, stronger energy grid that will serve our region’s changing energy needs for decades to come.”
Esserman also said the installations will be done with social distancing in mind in light of COVID-19.
“Our installers have Ameren Missouri ID badges and to keep everyone safe, they will practice social distancing measures,” Esserman said. “Since our crews will be working outside, you don’t need to worry about being present during the installation. It will take less than 20 minutes to switch your meter.”
Ameren’s 2019 plan resulted in the installation of 9,000 storm-resilient utility poles, 180 new smart switches which reroute power in the case of a power outage, $8 million in rebates to customers, and more.
Ameren said it expects to have installed smart meters for all customers by 2025.