Ameren is the largest electric utility in Missouri and the second largest electric utility in Illinois, servicing approximately 2.4 million customers across both states. The company maintains 2,400 substations, 1,400 of which are in Illinois.
According to Steve Wolter, a consulting engineer at Ameren, at least 50% of the company’s Illinois substations were at high risk for damage from squirrels, raccoons, opossums and even snakes. Ameren explored multiple solutions for the problem of repeated substation outages caused by these intrusions. Ameren applied clamshells, cover ups, and insulated wire, all of which proved to be ineffective.
In 2003, Ameren looked to TransGard for help in solving their animal-related outage problems. Ameren recognized TransGard as being the first of their kind in the field of animal deterrent systems, and selected them to begin installation on a handful of substations. Over the next eight years, Ameren applied TransGard to more than 200 of their most at-risk sites.
“It was most important for Ameren to provide uninterrupted service to its customers,” Wolton says. “TransGard has helped us make that happen.”
In addition, Wolter says that Ameren technicians found system installation to be quick and straightforward. The components were simple in concept and easily movable to provide access to the substation when required. Small teams were able to install fencing on entire substations in a single day.
With the TransGard systems properly installed, Ameren has not experienced an animal-related substation outage when the fence was intact. Installation on additional facilities and expansion on existing TransGard systems is ongoing.
“In my experience, TransGard is in the very top tier of companies in terms of their commitment to quality, continuous improvement and responsiveness to his technicians’ concerns,” Wolter says.