Saturday, April 25, 2015

Ameren UE Missouri - RFI Complaint Filed (and any followup)

2015-01-20 @ 3:30pm (via email)

Today I filed a complaint with Ameren UE (Missouri) the local power company provider related to the my previous posts on this blog.  This is the second complaint in 5 years with them.  The last time was in May of 2011 and they were VERY QUICK to respond.  I'm hoping this will have a similar result.  Considering the possible safety hazard involved at a nearby Middle School.

I filed the complaint via Email (the same way I did in 2011) at around 3:30pm local time on 2015-01-20 and I am now awaiting a response.

2015-01-22 @ 8:18pm (via email) 

sent a second request (asking for a ticket number)

2015-02-02 @ 9:00-9:15am (via phone call)

CALLED: 9am-9:15am feb 2 2015:

800.552.7583 - 5,5

spoke to: nikki (wouldn't provide last name or operator number)

ticket: 150333237

Didn't really seem to understand what Amatuer Radio and the FCC was.  She was friendly and curtious.  Just didn't really seem to clearly understand the issue.

She said it could be up to 3-5 days before a tech would contact me.

2015-02-02 @ 11:00-11:15am (IN PERSON)


Location: My Home

Skip and I talked about the issue.  I believe he's a lineman/service tech, arrived in a small ladder utility truck anyway.

I provided him with pole numbers, and some of the issues related to those poles.

He said it would probably be a few days before I heard back from the Service Tech Group

but that he would relay the pole numbers and info I gave him to them.  A very friendly, nice fellow.  He DID understand the issue, and let me know they wanted to fix it as much as I wanted it fixed.

This is more like the Ameren UE I remember from 2011!  Finally.  I guess no one is checking their "Contact US" email service anymore LOL.  Because a phone call sure got a fast reaction time!

2015-02-02 @ 11:38am (AUTOMATED VOICE MESSAGE)

Spoke to: (no one, this was an automated notification message)

Return number: 1-800-552-7583

The gist of the message indicated that a service tech came out to investigate my complaint and that a problem was found that would require further investigation.

I guess this was just confirmation of what I'd spoken to the tech (Skip) who'd come here just a little while ago about.


2015-02-07 @ 12:29pm (email update requested via Contact US)

Reference YOUR Ticket Number: 150333237

It was my understanding when I last spoke to a Ameren Service Tech named "Skip" that I should have heard back from your service department by now.

Please provide an update to this ticket at your earliest convenience."


2015-02-18 @ 2:25pm (phone call from Jerry who still works with Rob Duncan)

Jerry called to discuss the issue related to the same ticket number noted above.

Depending on Weather (which has been a mess lately) he will tentatively try to come down to check out the poles with me this Friday 2015-02-20 sometime.  If not then, he'll try to reschedule.

I mentioned I would email him (at rob's address) the results of my testing so far.

2015-02-18 @ 3:15pm (email sent to rob duncan relaying information about this issue which we spoke of on the phone a bit ago)

2015-02-21 @ 6:43pm 

Yesterday came and went 2015-02-20, no contact from Ameren Tech Services.  I assume due to the bad weather we were supposed to get late in the afternoon that their plans had changed.  So will wait to hear from them again hopefully sooner than later.

2015-03-30 @ 11pm

Emailed RD as a followup, explaining that I didn't wish to escalate the matter and asking for a followup contact.

2015-03-31 @ 9am

Jerry and a new trainee arrived in a van and we went to the worse sources I'd found where they poles were shown to be actively making noise still today.  They drew maps, took pole numbers, discussed what to do, and showed the trainee how to hunt for RFI.

We were also able to locate another area near the City Water supply which is about 230 degrees from my tower which was the strongest source we found all day.  Jerry found that one while we were looking at a source on Mill St that I'd ID'd previously.  We worked our way down the line right to the source.  Jerry wiggled the guy on the pole and it went nuts.

This is an area that would be on the back of my antenna when I'm pointed to EU which is one of the worse RFI / PLN areas I've got.  So kudos to Jerry for finding that one so FAST.

Jerry and the Trainee were very nice, enjoyable to talk with, and listened to what I had to say.  It was obvious that they wanted to resolve the issue as much as I wanted to resolve it.

So THANKS Ameren for coming through, albeit 3 months after I initially contacted them.  Apparently Jerry's been out of work a while with a shoulder problem and he's the only guy that does this type of work for Ameren, MO. (I guess that's why they had a trainee with him)

All in all it was a good 2.5 hours they spent with me going form source to source.  Afterwards they confirmed the noise signature by connecting they're equipment to my antenna. (seems like that should've been done first, but that's ok).  

Looks like they plan to fix everything I pointed out, and then some.  The one Jerry found while walking with me, was bigger than anything I'd found to-date.  So that was impressive.

Jerry also said on average it takes them about 3 weeks to get back out to start doing the work.  (in my experience it took 2x that, but I'd still be happy with that!)

2015-04-21 @ 9:40am

Noticed line crews were working on one of the locations we'd spec'd out.  So I drove past all of the locations.  It appears that 3 of 4 have had some work done on them.  I'll check the 4th one tomorrow.  It's in a location that's more difficult to get to and it was raining today when I drove around to inspect them.

2015-04-23 @ 12:30pm

Drove to all 4 locations last reported for work, found 3 of 4 completed.  Noise at station appears slightly improved.  4th location checked had not been worked on yet, this was the worst of the 4 that needed work.  So will continue to monitor if/when it is completed.  This 4th location has a locked chain blocking the entrance to it for vehicles, which means somehow Ameren will need to contact the city to gain entrance there in order to do the work, or walk in ladders to the pole and do the work like that.  I'll continue to check this location for work completed.  Once it's confirmed done, I'll review noise issue changes at the station.

I plan to head out to check this location today at some point.

Once this final spot has been resolved I'll drive-test again.  I suspect there are more locations besides the 4 we reviewed that require more work.  Virtually everything in town seems to emit RF noise on the power lines.  So I'm certain there is more work to be done.  My goal is to reduce the noise by 60% *at least* if possible.  Anything above that would be great, but I need to at least reduce the noise 60% of what it has been for years now.


(After - different angle same pole - notice replaced insulators)

(after all new insulators top,sides, and new top/over wire)