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updated: 4/3/2012 6:47 AM

Illinois utility plans installation of smart meters

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Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD -- Ameren Illinois has announced plans to install 780,000 advanced electric meters, or so-called "smart meters," over 10 years.

The utility on Monday filed its plan with the Illinois Commerce Commission under the state's power-grid modernization law. Ameren serves central and southern Illinois, while Commonwealth Edison serves northern Illinois. Both are allowed to include the cost of the upgrades in rates under the law.

Ameren estimates the $625 million investment would increase annual costs for the typical residential customer by $34 over the next 10 years.

Ameren spokesman Leigh Morris says the utility hasn't finalized an installation schedule, but state law requires the meters to be in place for 62 percent of its customers by 2022.

The smart meters use radio signals to send the utility customer usage information.

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