To leverage abundant natural gas supplies and low wholesale costs, Illinois employer and labor organizations and Ameren Illinois outlined details of a legislative proposal to accelerate the modernization of Illinois’ aging natural gas delivery infrastructure while maintaining Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) regulatory oversight.
Under the Natural Gas Modernization, Public Safety & Jobs Act (SB 1665/HB 2414), Ameren Illinois will invest $330 million and create 250 much-needed jobs to accelerate its ongoing efforts to strengthen and update its massive natural gas transmission, distribution and storage facilities in central and southern Illinois. The 10-year blueprint will reduce non-hazardous leaks and trim maintenance costs while delivering long-term savings for customers. The ICC will closely monitor the process and level penalties if Ameren Illinois fails to comply.
“This is an opportunity for Illinois to develop an important long-term energy infrastructure strategy and plan that creates savings and benefits for our customers while helping grow our economy,” said Richard Mark, president and CEO of Ameren Illinois. “The natural gas plan will help lay the foundation for economic development for years to come. As other states aggressively modernize and upgrade their natural gas infrastructures, Illinois cannot afford to fall behind.”
Ameren Illinois maintains approximately 1,250 miles of natural gas transmission lines and nearly 17,000 miles of delivery lines that feed service to more than 806,000 Illinois customers within a 43,700 square-mile territory in Central and Southern Illinois.
“A strong, modern energy infrastructure is critical to retaining and attracting employers who put Illinoisans to work,” said Jeff Mays, president of the Illinois Business Roundtable. “Illinois can regain its economic strength by creating vibrant employer growth, investing in technology and embracing new ways of doing things. It’s time to move Illinois forward.”
“Hundreds of dedicated men and women work hard every day to maintain a safe, reliable natural gas delivery system that millions of central and southern Illinoisans rely on every day to at work, school and home,” said Don Degonia, Business Manager of Plumbers and Fitters Local 360. “The Natural Gas Modernization, Public Safety & Jobs Act will enable us to make needed upgrades and enhancements to the system to the benefit of our customers and local economies.”
“The Natural Gas Modernization, Public Safety & Jobs Act requires crucial investment in the state’s infrastructure and workforce, giving Illinois a much-needed economic shot in the arm by creating and supporting 1,250 jobs statewide,” said Glyn Ramage, Business Manager LIUNA 12 Counties. “We urge the legislature to pass this bill and put people to work modernizing these critical systems.”