ST. LOUIS (May 29, 2019) – Every summer, some in the community struggle to stay cool as temperatures rise, especially seniors, the physically disabled and low-income families. That’s why Ameren Missouri is once again partnering with Cooldownstlouis.org and Cooldownmissouri.org, a bi-state not-for-profit public education and resource charity, to help its most vulnerable customers beat the heat this summer, especially seniors and the physically disabled.
Today Ameren Missouri donated 600 energy efficient air conditioners and packages of LED light bulbs to Cooldownstlouis.org and Cooldownmissouri.org. In addition, Ameren Missouri announced $300,000 in financial support to the charity, part of the company’s Energy Outreach Program to provide energy assistance and new programs for its limited-income customers to address immediate needs and help keep bills lower over time, and part of a $2 million commitment to the Cool Down/Heat-Up St. Louis summer and winter programs.
"Ameren Missouri is proud to partner with Cooldownstlouis.org and Cooldownmissouri.org and the amazing work they do to help our region’s most vulnerable residents,” said Michael Moehn, chairman and president of Ameren Missouri. “Today’s donation will help Ameren Missouri customers, including seniors and low-income families with young children, across the state to stay cool and safe this summer. We’re also proud of Cool Down’s consortium of social service, EMS/Fire protection and municipal government partnerships, that also embody an amazing spirit of neighbors helping neighbors – stay safe and cool each summer.”
Last year, members of the community were able to drop off window air conditioner units at local Vatterott College locations. Because that is no longer available, Ameren Missouri has donated an additional 100 units this year for a total of 600 air conditioners to help our community.
Moehn also thanked area TV meteorologists for participating in this summer kickoff program, and further stressed that Ameren Missouri was pleased about the Cooldownstlouis.org’s Check On Your Neighbor public awareness project. Ameren Missouri sponsored the project which includes community outreach that connect to area churches and social service organizations and governmental agencies.
Today Ameren Missouri volunteers, Cool Down board members Missouri Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson, Greater St. Louis Area Fire Chiefs Association; Michael P. McMillan, president and CEO, the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc., chair emeritus Reverend Earl. E. Nance, Jr., and Melanie DiLeo, board chair; and St. Louis area popular television meteorologists; chief meteorologist Glenn Zimmerman and Chris Higgins, FOX2/KPLR 11; KMOV’s chief meteorologist Steve Templeton and Kent Ehrhardt and KSDK’s 5 On Your Side meteorologists Anthony Slaughter, Scott Connell, Chester Lampkin and Tracy Hinson joined Moehn, in preparing donated units for state-wide distribution, to an already large waiting list of qualified seniors and physically disabled clients.
It is programs like the S.O.S. (Save our Seniors) summer campaign that effectively save lives and serve as a reminder to check on our elderly and physically disabled neighbors," said Missouri Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe. "Ameren Missouri and Cooldownstlouis.org/Cooldownmissouri.org continue to strengthen a summer safety net to help protect Missouri’s most vulnerable neighbors from the deadly heat. I am honored to be a member of the Cool Down board of directors. We are very appreciative of Ameren’s leadership and corporate responsibility throughout its servicing area. Ameren Missouri and Cool Down is a worthy partnership that connects neighbors in need each summer.”
The air conditioners are ENERGY STAR®-certified units, which means they meet high standards for energy efficiency and will cost less to operate. On average these air conditioners will cost less than a dollar a day to operate. The donation is part of Ameren Missouri’s long history of support for the mission of Cool Down. During the last 14 years, Ameren Missouri has donated approximately 5,500 air conditioning units to customers across the region. This is in addition to the 1,200 the public had previously dropped off at several sites up until the late summer of 2018. However, the Cool Down’s total combined efforts have been more than 13,500 units donated since its inception 19 years ago.
"I'm thrilled to represent our regional elected leadership on the Cooldownstlouis.org board of directors," said St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, honorary chair. "When summer’s hot temperatures arrive, our seniors, our disabled, and small children are at risk. They could be at risk for serious health issues because they can’t afford air conditioning, or they don’t have air conditioning or any other source for cooling themselves in their homes. Ameren Missouri plays a pivotal role each summer in partnering with Cooldownstlouis.org. Government can’t do it all; it takes volunteers and organizations like Ameren Missouri and Cooldownstlouis.org to keep on the air and make our residents safe.”
The S.O.S. (Save Our Seniors) summer project also encourages residents to check on elderly neighbors. If they don’t have an A/C or are scared to turn on their A/C because of utility affordability, Krewson and other regional leaders encourage the most vulnerable to please contact Cooldownstlouis.org or Cooldownmissouri.org for help.
"These air-conditioners donated by Ameren Missouri save lives, and there’s no debate about it," said Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson, co-chair, health and safety, Cooldownstlouis.org and representing the Greater St. Louis Area Fire Chiefs Association. "During the summer months, they have become the essential lifesavers as our EMS crews go about making sure that our seniors and the physically disabled are safe. First-responders, Cooldownstlouis.org or Ameren Missouri can’t over stress the critical importance of everyone to check on their neighbors, and family members. Don’t text your neighbors, or tweet them, go to their homes and apartments, and make sure their A/Cs are properly working and on, during hot deadly temperatures. And please touch them to make sure their body temperatures aren’t hot.”
Cooldownstlouis.org, which represents the bi-state region, and Cooldownmissouri.org, which stretches as far as the Missouri Bootheel and Jefferson City and Columbia, work with a consortium of more than 34 social service and governmental agencies in coordinating efforts to make sure utility bills are paid, and brand-new energy efficient air-conditioners are distributed to those who qualify.
“Even though the summer is just around the corner, the St. Louis region has already experienced a taste of hot and humid weather," said Scott Connell, Meteorologist, KSDK 5 On Your Side. "Like Cooldownstlouis.org, we too are concerned about the health and well-being of our disabled and elderly viewers. KSDK 5 On Your Side wants our neighbors to avoid a life-threatening crisis. Our station has been supportive of Cooldownstlouis.org since its inception 19 years ago, and we encourage you to also make a donation to help keep the most vulnerable connected to utilities, and we encourage you to check on your elderly neighbors, to make sure they keep on the air.”
The public can also make secured donations online to Cooldownstlouis.org or Cooldownmissouri.org or send donations to Cool Down St. Louis, c/o UMB Bank, P.O. Box 868, St. Louis, MO 63188. 100% of all public donations go towards serving our qualified needy Missouri and Illinois neighbors. In addition, UMB Bank’s tellers will accept donations at their windows.
“For 19 years, FOX2 and KPLR 11 have been working alongside Cooldownstlouis.org to echo its public education message to check on your neighbors," said Glenn Zimmerman, chief meteorologist, FOX2/KPLR 11. "Today’s generous gift of hundreds of Ameren Missouri energy efficient A/C units and a huge cash donation hopefully will help keep the most vulnerable of our community cool and safe this summer. We encourage everyone to help Cooldownstlouis.org with a donation, and if you’re in need, it’s Cooldownstlouis.org or Cooldownmissouri.org to see if you qualify. At FOX2 and KPLR 11, we want you to remain cool and safe.”
Moehn also mentioned Ameren Missouri's Budget Billing program, which the bi-state run charity and advocacy group also endorsed, can take some heat off of some of the 1.2 million Ameren Missouri customer bills in communities throughout the state.
“During what can be dangerously turbulent summer weather KMOV and the 4Warn Storm team bring extensive years of meteorology expertise, so that our warnings inform the viewers, so that they can prepare themselves for safety," said chief meteorologist Steven Templeton, KMOV, Channel 4. "In terms of hot and humid St. Louis area weather, Cooldownstlouis.org has been a proven regional safety net, working with 30 bi-state area partners, including KMOV to make sure that our seniors and the physically disabled have new energy efficient air-conditioners. No senior need fear about not keeping on the air, because of inability to pay.
Cooldownstlouis.org and Cooldownmissouri.org works closely with Ameren in about 32 Missouri and Illinois counties, including St. Louis City, and County in an effort to keep the most vulnerable neighbors cool and connected.”
As part of the Cooldownstlouis.org S.O.S. project, officials are reminding other area corporations and the public that they can make a donation designated to the purchase of a brand-new energy efficient unit or help pay someone’s utility bill. By logging onto Cooldownstlouis.org or Cooldownmissouri.org for different ways to donate.
“Last year’s December closing of the Vatterott College has put a wrinkle in the public being able to historically drop off a brand new or slightly used unit," said Rev. Earl E. Nance, Jr., chair emeritus, Cooldownstlouis.org/Cooldownmissouri.org. "We’re in desperate need of an HVAC firm with multiple locations or a school to help us continue this very successful drop-off project." Until that time, Nance is urging the public to make a tax-deduction, so the bi-state charity can obtain additional new air-conditioners.
The Clergy Coalition of Metropolitan St. Louis and agencies throughout the state of Missouri have also 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 project.
“’Over the years, the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis has significantly benefitted from the close partnership of our Cooldownstlouis.org,” said Michael P. McMillan, President and CEO, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc. “They have strengthened their voice and capabilities with a unique and productive partnership with Ameren Missouri. This three-way partnership will again help keep many of our area seniors and physically disabled residents cool and healthy through the Save Our Seniors summer A/C giveaway project. We are also dedicated to encouraging not only seniors and the disabled, but all bi-state area residents, too keep on the air. If you have affordability issues, please contact Cooldownstlouis.org or Cooldownmissouri.org online for utility help as well. Thank you, Ameren Missouri and Cool Down for also reminding us to check on your neighbors.”
Last year, Cooldownstlouis.org distributed about 1,000 donated air conditioners thanks to Ameren Missouri and the public through. Since its inception, the all-volunteer summer charity has distributed more than 13,500 units.
‘’There are people throughout the St. Louis region who just can’t - they can’t pay for the medication; they can’t pay for rent or even groceries," said Melanie DiLeo, board chairman, Cooldownstlouis.org/Cooldownmissouri.org. "And even though Ameren Missouri utility rates are considered some of the most affordable in the Midwest, many seniors and physically disabled neighbors refuse to turn on their air-conditioners, and they are the ones who get nervous, and those are primarily the lives we also try to save, during our often hot, humid and potentially deadly summers,” said “Please help us save lives, please do whatever you can to dig very deep into your wallet and help seniors and the physically disabled and very low-income people struggling. We encourage you to KEEP ON THE AIR.”
“Make sure you maintain the new Ameren Missouri units or any window units we donated by cleaning out the filters to max the air flow,” said Rev. Earl E. Nance, Jr., chair emeritus. “We highly recommend Ameren Budget Billing plan, as well. Even if an elderly person thinks they can’t pay an Ameren Missouri bill this summer, contact us, but keep the air conditioners on. It may be a matter of life and death.”
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, visit Ameren.com/Missouri or follow us on Twitter at @AmerenMissouri or Facebook.com/AmerenMissouri.
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