COLLINSVILLE (January 22, 2024) – Ameren Illinois’ work in restoring power to nearly 200,000 customers in the wake of the June Derecho was recognized by the nation’s premier energy industry association. The company was presented with an Emergency Response Award by the Edison Electric Institute at its recent winter membership meeting.
"America’s electric companies are committed to serving their customers and communities and to restoring power safely and as quickly as possible following severe storms and other extreme weather events,” said EEI President and CEO Dan Brouillette. “I applaud Ameren Illinois' commitment to restoring service under challenging conditions following the June 29, 2023, derecho."
The National Weather Service reported the June 29 derecho left a 500-plus-mile stretch of damage across several Midwest states. The storm packed wind gusts of 100 mph and spawned tornadoes that pounded the electric infrastructure in the mid-section of Ameren Illinois’ service territory over the course of several hours. It caused substantial tree damage, knocked down power poles and lines, damaged electric distribution and transmission equipment and caused thousands of power outages.
Within the first few hours after the storm passed through, the company reported at 6:10 p.m., June 29 that 256 power poles (sub-transmission and distribution) were damaged or destroyed and several substations were damaged and out of service.
Over a three-hour period, the peak number of outages companywide reached approximately 182,000 customers, the equivalent of roughly 1,000 customer outages per minute. The hardest hit areas were in Macon, Champaign and Vermilion counties. It was the most significant outage event the company has experienced in the last 15 years.
Ameren Illinois activated its Incident Management Team at 1 p.m., June 29, to support restoration activities. It was staffed around-the-clock to coordinate service restoration, logistical support and communications.
"Ameren Illinois' ability to restore service to so many customers so quickly was a direct result of our investments in the electric grid over the last 10 years," said Ameren Illinois President Lenny Singh said. "In the face of such a devastating storm, the damage to our system was far less than it would have been without having strengthened the grid to provide reliable and resilient infrastructure to our customers. Our investments are paying off, and our customers are seeing the benefits of a more robust grid. While we're very pleased to receive this award, we must continue to plan and invest in technologies that storm harden the system as we experience more frequent and severe weather events so we can meet and exceed customers' expectations."
Ameren President and CEO Marty Lyons attended the winter meeting to accept the award on behalf of Ameren Illinois.
"I am so proud of how all areas of our company performed as this derecho hit right before the start of the July 4th holiday weekend – with a special shoutout to the field crews who had to endure the summer heat to restore customers," Singh said. "I want to thank every Ameren Illinois co-worker and our mutual assistance partners who sacrificed to get the job finished safely."
Edison Electric Institute (EEI) is the association that represents all U.S. investor-owned electric companies. Our members provide electricity for nearly 250 million Americans and operate in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. As a whole, the electric power industry supports more than 7 million jobs in communities across the United States. In addition to our U.S. members, EEI has more than 70 international electric companies, with operations in more than 90 countries, as International Members, and hundreds of industry suppliers and related organizations as Associate Members.
About Ameren Illinois
Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and 812,000 natural gas customers in Illinois. Our mission is to power the quality of life. Our service territory covers more than 1,200 communities and 43,700 square miles. For more information, visit AmerenIllinois.com or find us on Twitter @AmerenIllinois or Facebook.