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      Major upgrades at electric substations in Quincy

      The Ameren Illinois Corporation has spent about $10 million dollars on equipment upgrades in the Quincy area over the last two years.

      It's the first major project for the Quincy area since the mid 1990's

      T he upgrades are meant to improve the electric grid system and the reliability of service to customers.

      One of the big areas where Ameren invested millions of dollars was at their Koch's Lane substation.

      It's a plan that has been in the design and engineering stage for the last decade.

      Bruno Stopka is the division director for Ameren.

      "We look at our load growth and we obviously put pen to paper and when it comes time to execute it takes several years to get these projects and services and this one took two yeas to get it built and running," said Stopka.

      The way electricity makes it's way to customers is a multi step process. It comes through main substations, from there is a distribution sub station and it eventually makes it's way to residential and commercial customers. With the upgrades, Ameren says outage areas will be identified quicker and service will be restored in a quicker fashion as well.

      "When facilities are no longer usable because of damages or other problems other parts of the circuit will pick up and carry the loads. So part of this program and project was to upgrade the facilities to make that automated, said Ameren Substation Enginner Rick Hart.

      Ameren also did major work on two other substations in Quincy and is also doing work in Mt. Sterling as well.

      Ameren said they're already in the process of looking at electricity needs 20 to 25 years from now.

      So when customers and commercial needs increase, engineering plans and designs will already be on the radar and in the pipeline ready to go.