Upgrades to help prevent power outages during storms in Jefferson City

1 month 1 week 2 days ago Tuesday, February 25 2020 Feb 25, 2020 Tuesday, February 25, 2020 6:45:00 PM CST February 25, 2020 in News
By: Michael Van Schoik, KOMU 8 Reporter
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JEFFERSON CITY - New technology installed by Ameren could provide more responsive service if severe weather comes to Jefferson City.

The company upgraded its power grid in the city by installing new smart grid technology. The new system is underground and was installed throughout downtown.

An Ameren spokesperson said the new "self-healing" technology can sense damage and then reroutes power so crews can make repairs while customers can still have power.

The spokesperson also said the new system could reduce outage times from "hours to seconds."

Before the technology, crews would have to go out to a line, determine what the leading issues were, de-energize the line, safely repair the line and finally re-energize the line once again. Meanwhile, homes would be without power the whole time.

The new system is made up of eight smart switches capable of detecting, isolating and rerouting the power.

Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin said the new improvements are important for the city.

"We have really learned, especially since the tornado, how important it is to have safe, reliable service all the time," she said.

Tergin said the May tornado had an "extreme" impact on the city.

"There were power lines down, there were poles damaged and we had a significant amount of affected areas," she said.

Tergin said Ameren responded rapidly at the time, but said the new technology will allow them to respond faster.

"It will hopefully help in any kind of future scenario, whether it is a disaster, storm or anything that might interrupt the power," Tergin said.

She also said the area Ameren installed the new technology is a "key factor."

"It's in the core of our city," she said. "It includes the state capitol, which is extremely important. We don't want things to affect the core area, the Capitol, the Governor's mansion, the downtown business area and even some residential."

Tergin said the system will help with prevention in future scenarios.

"Having safe and reliable power is something that really we don't think about until we need it," she said.

Several government agencies in Jefferson City are impacted by the new smart technology implementations. Among them are the Jefferson City Hall, the Jefferson City Police Department, the Cole County Courthouse, the Cole County Sheriff and Jail, the state Capitol, the Missouri Department of Transportation and the Missouri Department of Revenue.

An Ameren spokesperson also said the company is also installing stronger, composite polls in certain areas that will be able to withstand stronger winds.

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