Ameren’s smart switches hoping to keep the lights on in Knoxville

The city of Knoxville has recently received some new improvements to the electrical grid. 

Ameren Illinois just wrapped up a project in Knoxville where they installed smart technology known as intellirupters. Intellirupters – installed in groups of three, are smart switches that communicate with each other as well as sub-stations and the Ameren dispatch center in Decatur. Ameren’s Brian Bretsch explains, “The devices are designed to detect any sort of a problem whether that be during a blue sky day and the wind blows, a tree limb falls, and that trips a circuit, or during storms. They will let the dispatch center know if there is an issue in town.” In the event of an issue – pulses are sent down the line within seconds – most issues can be redirected through the switches. The smart technology basically pinpoints where and what the issue is – saving Ameren from having to send out a linemen for a tripped circuit. Bretsch says, “what customers will notice is a blink in their service as opposed to (a lengthy) outage.” Teams of circuits in the greater Galesburg area will benefit about 6800 customers. Across Ameren’s total service territory, about 450 of the devices on the grid. Another initiative for Ameren is installing fiberglass power poles as opposed to wooden poles. Fiberglass poles are much stronger – and can even withstand low-grade tornado winds. The new poles also stop the domino effect of several poles getting blown over in a row.