Saying they are trying to address future growth of electrical infrastructure, Ameren Missouri and Three Rivers Electric Cooperative have notified the Missouri Public Service Commission that they will submit a joint application for approval of a territorial agreement regarding some electric customers in Cole County.
Officials for both companies said they are proposing an even swap of approximately 250 customers for each company.
Three Rivers CEO Roger Kloeppel said Ameren would get customers currently served by Three Rivers around the Rockridge and Frog Hollow Road areas. Three Rivers would get customers currently served in the Wardsville area.
There are locations in these areas where there are two sets of electric infrastructure, and with the high cost of maintaining such structures, the companies felt they needed to work to streamline service and reliability in the area. They also told the PSC that having two separate infrastructures can cause concerns for first responders when they are called out to emergencies such as structure fires and have to determine which electric service is providing electricity to a structure. Also utility crews making repairs for power outages need to be certain which power lines they need to make repairs to.
Officials for both companies also said they have done territorial agreements such as this in other locations in the state.
The application will be submitted to the PSC on or after Dec. 3. The PSC will have to determine whether it is in the public interest for this agreement to be approved.
Customers who would be affected have been notified, and Ameren and Three Rivers officials said they plan to hold public meetings to discuss what is being proposed. Dates for those meetings haven't been set.
"Both areas have grown, and we anticipate more growth in these areas in the future," Kloeppel said. "As we looked at the problem, Ameren acknowledged Three Rivers has a greater strength in rural areas and Ameren has more strength in urban areas in Jefferson City."
Kloeppel said both companies believe more development will be taking place with Capital City High School near Frog Hollow and the Blair Oaks R-2 School District planning a new high school.
The Blair Oaks district currently gets electric service through Ameren and Three Rivers at different facilities, Superintendent Jim Jones said.
"We've worked with both companies for several years and have never had problems," Jones said. "Both companies let the school district and the community know they were in the process of doing this, and we don't feel it should adversely affect the district."
"Having both companies putting poles in the ground and doubling their presence on people's property is something we try to avoid," Kloeppel said. "We have very loyal members, and Ameren has very loyal customers. We don't love doing this, but in the long run, we believe it will be safer with a reduction of a duplication of lines."