Memorial Day weekend is the official kick-off of summer. Last year, the St. Louis region experienced days of life-threatening heat. As part of the annual Cool Down S.O.S. (Save Our Seniors) Air Conditioner project, Ameren Missouri is donating 400 window air conditioners to Cooldownstlouis.org, a regional not-for-profit public education and resource charity, which will distribute them to physically disabled and elderly Ameren Missouri customers throughout eastern Missouri. This is the 12th year that Ameren Missouri has sponsored the giveaway. Ameren Missouri also is pleased to donate to Cooldownstlouis.org supplemental funds in the amount of $25,000 for grants to qualified area residents at risk.
“Ameren Missouri is committed to providing safe and reliable energy to our 1.2 million customers in communities throughout our state. As part of our mission to power the quality of life, we also connect with communities through a variety of education and outreach programs – such as Cooldownstlouis.org’s Save Our Seniors project, which distributes hundreds of air conditioners we are donating today to customers in need,” said Michael Moehn, president, Ameren Missouri. “We're fortunate to have Cooldownstlouis.org as a dedicated and proven partner leading this initiative. Over the years, we have formed a productive partnership that aims to keep people cool and safe during the hot summer months. We also appreciate the charity’s endorsement of many of our customer service programs, such as our budget billing program, which help neighbors maintain an affordable monthly utility bill. We are proud to support Cooldownstlouis.org and its partner agencies, which do an outstanding job distributing these air conditioners to those in need.”
The air conditioners are ENERGY STAR®-certified units that meet the strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy. They cost approximately 75 cents per day to operate. Eligible recipients (seniors and people with physical disabilities only) will be selected by Cooldownstlouis.org and its partner agencies, which uses age and certain medical circumstances to determine qualification for air-conditioners. However, utility assistance this summer is based also on income eligibility.
“This is a shining example of local leaders coming together with the private sector to make a difference for our community,” said Missouri State Treasurer Eric Schmitt and board member of Cooldownstlouis.org. “The Save our Seniors (S.O.S) program unveiled today will be an effective tool to combat heat-related illnesses. I encourage anyone who can to join this effort by donating their new or slightly used air conditioning units to Cooldownstlouis.org.”
The annual giveaway is supported by Commissioner Scott T. Rupp of the Missouri Public Service Commission and also Cooldownstlouis.org board officials: Missouri State Treasurer Eric Schmitt; St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson; St. Louis County Executive Steve V. Stenger; St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann; St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson, who also represents the Greater St. Louis Area Fire Chiefs Association; Rev. Earl E. Nance, Jr., board emeritus; and Michael P. McMillan, president/CEO, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.
“The fact is, some people consider air conditioning to be an almost unaffordable option. To help take the “heat” off summer cooling bills, Cooldownstlouis.org also encourages the use of budget billing, said St. Louis County Executive Steve V. Stenger and honorary board chair of Cooldownstlouis.org. “For those who have air conditioning units, we urge you to properly maintain them, which will save you money and maximize your home cooling.”
If a senior or person with physical disabilities needs assistance, please visit the Cooldownstlouis.org website or call the organization’s automated hotline at 1-314-241-7668. Funds are available on a first-come basis to those who qualify. The public can also make secured donations online.
“Many may assume that being without utilities or cooling resources is just an urban challenge. I’m here to tell you that this is far from the truth. There are hundreds of residents throughout Missouri; including the Eastern Missouri area, who are seniors or physically disabled on fixed-incomes,” said Scott T. Rupp, Commissioner, Missouri Public Service Commission. “They are making tough budget choices. The Cooldownstlouis.org undertaking of a S.O.S. (Save our Seniors) project is an admirable task and is needed.”
Along with making a donation valued at about $100,000 in 400 energy efficient window units, and utility assistance, Ameren Missouri also provided critically important maintenance instructions with each unit, including Cooldownstlouis.org cooling tips and outreach assistance cards.
“Cooldownstlouis.org, plays a critical safety net role in our region, along with its dynamic consortium of first-responders, social service partners, regional leaders, churches, and good corporate citizens, like Ameren Missouri,” said St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, and honorary co-chair.” “Our S.O.S. project is ambitious because it provides public awareness, utility assistance grants and thanks to Ameren, life-lines with new air-conditioners.” Mayor Krewson also insisted that the public check on their most vulnerable neighbors this summer, to avoid heat-related illnesses, etc.
As part of the Cooldownstlouis.org S.O.S. project, officials are reminding other area corporations and the public that they too can donate a new or slightly used air conditioner (no less than two years old) to the regional charity by dropping off a unit at any Vatterott College campus. More information and locations are available at Cooldownstlouis.org.
“It’s clear that need knows no geographic boundaries. In St. Charles County, we have similar utility affordability issues and lack of A/C ownership challenges for area seniors and disabled County residents,” said St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann, honorary co-chair, Cooldownstlouis.org. “Because of our collective efforts, we’re looking to experience a much more comfortable and safer summer.”
The Clergy Coalition of Metropolitan St. Louis; City/County human services, area fire departments and health departments have been asked to distribute informational cooling card tips to thousands of area residents who are also seeking utility assistance, as part of the S.O.S. outreach.
“The Ameren/Cooldownstlouis.org S.O.S. (Save Our Seniors) program is desperately needed. Today’s utility dollars will also supplement sparse funds currently in-house for many partnering agencies, especially in the outlying areas. Every red cent will save a life,” said Michael P. McMillan, President/CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. “It also takes a village to check on our area elderly and physically disabled neighbors, during the St. Louis region’s unforgiven humid summer days. Cooldownstlouis.org and Ameren’s summer S.O.S. (Save Our Seniors) is an ambitious safety net program that helps literally cool down lives and that’s the bottom line.”
“At its core, Cooldownstlouis.org saves lives during summer months. Our S.O.S. (Save our Seniors) is an effective network that connects. For our EMS crews here in the City, and throughout the metro area, an air-conditioner is truly often that saving grace and life-line to avoiding strokes and so many other physical ailments caused by the stress of hot and unforgiving summer days,” said Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson, a member of the Greater St. Louis Area Fire Chiefs Association. “We appreciate Cooldownstlouis.org and Ameren Missouri’s partnership. We significantly benefit by this exceptional corporate generosity.”
Last year, Cooldownstlouis.org distributed about 1,200 donated air conditioners thanks to Ameren Missouri and the public through Vatterott, etc. Since its inception however, the all-volunteer summer charity has distributed more than 11,500 units.
“Thank you, Ameren Missouri, and your volunteers for helping distribute these gifts of life. We work feverishly to keep our precious seniors and physically disabled neighbors, alive and well, each summer,” said Cooldownstlouis.org’s chair emeritus the Rev. Earl E. Nance, Jr. “Checking on your neighbors also ensures that we have no fatalities this summer. We operate on the generosity of area contributors. So, I’m pleading with bi-state area residents who can, please donate today, as we prepare to fight the oppressive and dangerous forthcoming St. Louis heat.”
Along with promoting heat safety and the importance of running an air conditioner during the hot summer months, Ameren Missouri invites customers to learn about its energy efficiency programs, which offer rebates to replace inefficient air conditioner units and a variety of other programs that help customers save energy and money. More information is available at AmerenMissouri.com/rebates.
Ameren Missouri has been providing electric and gas service for more than 100 years, and the company's electric rates are among the lowest in the nation. Ameren Missouri's mission is to power the quality of life for its 1.2 million electric and 127,000 natural gas customers in central and eastern Missouri. The company's service area covers 64 counties and more than 500 communities including the greater St. Louis area. For more information, please visit AmerenMissouri.com or follow Ameren Missouri on Facebook or Twitter.