ST. LOUIS, Aug. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- An order issued yesterday by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) paves the way for major new investment by Ameren that will create jobs, enable the delivery of renewable energy and improve the reliability and efficiency of the electric power grid.
Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois (ATXI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Ameren Corporation (NYSE: AEE), has received approval from the ICC to build the majority of its nearly 400-mile, approximately $1.1 billion Illinois Rivers transmission project. The project consists of a new 345-kilovolt transmission line crossing the Mississippi River near Quincy, Ill., and continuing east across Illinois to the Indiana border. This is the largest transmission project in the corporation's history and the largest single investment by the corporation since the early 1980s.
Right-of-way acquisitions for the approved portions of the project are expected to begin immediately with a full range of construction activities in 2014, providing a significant boost to the Illinois economy over the next five years.
"We are pleased with the ICC's decision confirming that the Illinois Rivers project is necessary and the best approach to addressing the reliability needs of customers and ensuring the development of an efficient electricity market. This project will help fuel the Illinois economy and provide customers access to a variety of energy sources, including wind energy," said Maureen A. Borkowski, president and CEO of ATXI.
The ICC agreed with and supported the need for this new line and granted a certificate of public convenience and necessity for seven of nine proposed segments on the route and three of nine proposed bulk substations. ATXI is moving forward on the approved portions of the project. The ICC noted the remaining two segments were not approved due to lack of time and evidence to determine the most cost-effective route. ATXI plans to request a rehearing to determine the appropriate routing of the two segments and the location and need for the substations that were not approved.
The project previously received approvals from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (MISO), a regional transmission organization serving an 11-state region and the Canadian province of Manitoba.
Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois is a subsidiary of Ameren Corporation dedicated to electric transmission infrastructure investment, expanding Ameren's already robust transmission system of more than 7,400 circuit miles of high-voltage transmission lines in Illinois and Missouri.
St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation serves 2.4 million electric customers and more than 900,000 natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area through our Ameren Missouri and Ameren Illinois rate-regulated utility subsidiaries. Ameren Illinois provides electric and natural gas delivery service while Ameren Missouri provides vertically integrated electric service, with generating capacity of 10,300 megawatts, and natural gas delivery service. Ameren Transmission develops regional electric transmission projects. In March 2013, we entered into a definitive agreement to divest our Illinois-based merchant generation business. For more information, visit Ameren.com.
Statements in this release not based on historical facts are considered "forward-looking" and, accordingly, involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed. Although such forward-looking statements have been made in good faith and are based on reasonable assumptions, there is no assurance that the expected results will be achieved. These statements include (without limitation) statements as to future expectations, beliefs, plans, strategies, objectives, events, conditions, and financial performance. In connection with the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, we are providing this cautionary statement to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated. The following factors, in addition to those discussed under Risk Factors in Ameren's Annual Report on Form 10-K and and in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations suggested in such forward-looking statements:
- regulatory, judicial, or legislative actions, including changes in regulatory policies and ratemaking determinations, such as the outcome of any rehearing of the ICC's order relating to the Illinois Rivers transmission project, and future regulatory, judicial, or legislative actions that seek to change regulatory recovery mechanisms;
- changes in laws and other governmental actions, including monetary, fiscal, and tax policies;
- the effects on demand for our services resulting from technological advances, including advances in energy efficiency and distributed generation sources, which generate electricity at the site of consumption;
- increasing capital expenditure and operating expense requirements and our ability to recover these costs;
- business and economic conditions, including their impact on interest rates, bad debt expense, and demand for our products;
- disruptions of the capital markets, deterioration in credit metrics of the Ameren companies, or other events that make the Ameren companies' access to necessary capital, including short-term credit and liquidity, impossible, more difficult, or more costly;
- our assessment of our liquidity;
- the impact of the adoption of new accounting guidance and the application of appropriate technical accounting rules and guidance;
- actions of credit rating agencies and the effects of such actions;
- the impact of system outages;
- transmission asset construction, installation, performance, and cost recovery;
- the effects of our increasing investment in electric transmission projects and uncertainty as to whether we will achieve our expected investment and returns in a timely fashion, if at all;
- the impact of current environmental regulations on electric generators and new, more stringent or changing requirements, including those related to energy efficiency, that are enacted over time and that could increase our costs, reduce our customers' demand for electricity, or otherwise have a negative financial effect;
- labor disputes, future wage and employee benefits costs;
- the inability of our counterparties and affiliates to meet their obligations with respect to contracts, credit agreements, and financial instruments;
- legal and administrative proceedings; and
- acts of sabotage, war, terrorism, cybersecurity attacks or intentionally disruptive acts.
Given these uncertainties, undue reliance should not be placed on these forward-looking statements. Except to the extent required by the federal securities laws, we undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements to reflect new information or future events.