COLLINSVILLE, Ill. (KFVS) - Ameren Illinois personnel are working with the National Weather Service (NWS) to keep an eye on Mother Nature and any chance of arctic weather and wind heading into February and early March.
Ameren Illinois is ready for increases in demand that can occur when temperatures plummet and customers use more natural gas to heat their homes and power their appliances.
The company’s natural gas storage capabilities – 12 underground fields located across its 43,700-square-mile service territory – provide ample supply and price stability through the heating season.
Current projections show normal to above-normal temperatures for the rest of January into February, said NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist Chris Miller, who nominated Ameren Illinois for the National Weather Service’s Weather Ready Nation “Ambassador of Excellence” award in 2020.
Should those forecasts change, though, Ameren Illinois customers can enjoy peace of mind.
The company’s storage fields can safely store 24.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas, providing more than 40 percent of the natural gas used by customers during a typical winter season.
The storage fields serve three primary purposes:
- Enable Ameren Illinois to purchase natural gas at lower prices during the spring and summer months, store it in extensive underground storage fields, and then withdraw the gas during the winter months to deliver to customers. This helps keep natural gas bills lower in the winter.
- Ensure Ameren Illinois has enough natural gas to meet demand on cold winter days.
- Balance day-to-day, hour-to-hour variabilities of customer demands.
Ameren Illinois gas storage fields are located in the following areas: Ashmore, Centralia, Eden, Freeburg, Galesburg, Glasford, Hookdale, Hillsboro, Johnston City, Lincoln, Sciota and Tilden.
“Our natural gas storage capabilities allow us to keep prices stable during the wintertime, and in the event of frigid weather, they provide price stability when demand will be higher to keep everyone warm inside their homes,” said Eric Kozak, Vice President of Natural Gas Operations, Ameren Illinois. “
The volume of natural gas each storage field contains at peak varies.
Our storage field in Freeburg, for example, holds 1.9 billion cubic feet of natural gas or enough to fill (St. Louis Cardinals) Busch Stadium 80 times.”
In addition to the storage fields, Kozak said the company’s investment in its natural gas transmission pipeline system enhances customer reliability during the wintertime.
Under its natural gas modernization program, Ameren Illinois has replaced more than 200 miles of mechanically coupled steel pipeline, 100 miles of vintage steel pipes, and more than 70 natural gas regulator stations.
Along with implementation of new technology to monitor and adjust pipeline pressurization, these projects have delivered increased safety and reliability, supported downstate growth, and created hundreds of jobs in central and southern Illinois.