PORTAGEVILLE, Mo. (KFVS) - Ameren Missouri is upgrading the electric grid in Pemiscot County as part of the Smart Energy Plan.
The Smart Energy Plan is designed to enhance reliability, provide smarter energy infrastructure and offer customers cleaner and renewable energy options.
Ameren Missouri crews and contractors were out on Highway T south of Portageville on Tuesday, July 30 where they were installing 45 new wooden poles and 11 composite poles to withstand high winds as part of a $1.5 million project.
"We're looking for innovative ways to modernize our grid and increase reliability for our customers here in Southeast Missouri," Ameren Missouri's SEMO division director Russell Burger said. "One of the innovative ways is that we are putting in composite poles. Composite poles strengthen our system and guard against high winds."
Burger said the composite poles can withstand winds of up to 300 mile per hour and will keep wooden poles from snapping and cascading.
"This should really shorten our repair time if and when we were to have those high winds and damage does occur; these composite poles will guard against that," Burger continued.
Burger said less repair time equals less inconveniences for those at homes and businesses which could affect livelihood.
"The less downtime when it comes to electricity, the better everybody is," Burger added. "Businesses can keep people employed instead of keeping people at home for an all day outage."
He also said that crews are increasing the wire size to ensure more reliable and consistent voltage for all of their customers across southeast Missouri.
This plan is part of more than 2,000 electric projects across Ameren Missouri's service territory that will reduce outages, rapid restorations and potential opportunities for job creation.
Ameren crews, along with contractors from J.F. Electric will continue installing poles on Highway T from Portageville to Hayti. There will be crews along the road with the potential of lane closures during work zones.
The project started in mid-July and is anticipated to be complete in December of 2019.