Ameren makes improvements after windstorm - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Ameren makes improvements after windstorm

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An intellirupter installed at the top of a utility pole near State and 30th streets in Quincy An intellirupter installed at the top of a utility pole near State and 30th streets in Quincy
ADAMS COUNTY, Ill. (WGEM) -

After last July's windstorm, Ameren Illinois did an assessment, and one of the improvements you may notice is more fiberglass utility poles being installed.

At 36th Street and Spring Lake Road, north of Quincy, we found one of 30 installed poles in the last year. 0s year. Some of them are anchored. Ameren says they can withstand powerful winds better than typical wooden utility poles. 

Crews install one for every five wooden power poles. In a storm, a falling pole can bring many others down with it, but the stronger fiberglass poles can minimize that.

Ameren also installed new technology called intellirupter. There are four of them now in Quincy. 

"It actually monitors voltage on a line continuously, and if it sees a drop in voltage, it has the capacity to see the damage that was done and pick up the load from another circuit," Craig Gilson, with Ameren, said. "It can not only reduce the number of customers who are out, but hopefully minimize the number of times the power is out."

Ameren plans to install more of those next year and in 2018.

Meanwhile, Ameren's biggest challenge, officials say, was that initial damage assessment. The company says there were more than 1,000 trees destroyed or damaged in Quincy, And with so many blocking roads and on top of power lines, Gilson says it was tough to get crews on the ground to understand the scope of the damage.

Now, Ameren is looking to use drones for future damage assessment. Gilson says the power company is in the process of getting an FAA license to fly them after future storms to help improve efficiency and stretch resources.

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