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Winter storm causes multiple power outages
Ameren Illinois crews making progress restoring service
Company issues safety advice

Ameren Illinois continues to experience outages throughout its service territory as a strong winter storm packing high winds moves through the state.

Despite the continued strong winds and hazardous working conditions, Ameren Illinois field personnel and support staff continue to make good progress in restoring service.

Continued severe weather conditions are in the forecast for the remainder of the day. Sustained winds of 35 to 45 mph with gusts of up to 55 mph are predicted that will create near blizzard conditions in some areas. These weather conditions could slow service restoration efforts and cause new outages.

Residents should be on the alert for downed electrical wires and stay away from any downed wires. Furthermore, stay away from brush, downed trees and limbs and any debris that may conceal downed power lines.

If you see a fallen or sagging wire, assume that it is still energized and dangerous. Electric power lines may remain energized even after being knocked to the ground. Stay away and warn others to do the same. Call Ameren Illinois at 1-800-755-5000 to report downed wires.

Customers planning to use a portable generator must first open the main breaker or remove the main fuses before connecting the generator to the electrical systems. Failure to do this could seriously injure utility crews working on outside power lines, and/or cause damage to a neighbor's property or the customer's own equipment. Customers must never use a portable generator indoors, including in a home, garage, basement, shed or partially-enclosed area – even with ventilation because of the threat of deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.

Outage information is available at www.IllinoisOutage.com. Users can find outages listed by zip code and by county. The website also includes safety and weather information.

Those using mobile devices are invited to visit www.Ameren.Mobi for outage information. This site is specially designed for mobile devices.

Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and 813,000 natural gas customers in downstate Illinois, and our mission is to meet their energy needs in a safe, reliable, efficient and environmentally responsible manner. Our service area covers more than 1,200 communities and 43,700 square miles.

For more information, visit AmerenIllinois.com. Routine updates will be posted on Twitter @AmerenIllinois. For press inquiries on the evening of December 20, call 217-424-6400.


CONTACT: Leigh Morris, 217.535.5228, lmorris@ameren.com; Stacey Stockton-Shangraw, 309.242.4278, sstocktonshangraw@ameren.com 

Power Outage Safety Information

• Only use a flashlight for emergency lighting. Never use candles!
• Turn off electrical equipment you were using when the power went out.
• Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer.
• Do not run a generator inside a home or garage.
• If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not connect a generator to a home's electrical system.
• Listen to local radio and television for updated information.
• Check on the elderly. If you know an elderly person in your neighborhood that is without power, check on that person's health.
• Watch out for downed wires. If you see a fallen or sagging wire, assume that it is still energized and dangerous. Electric power lines can carry power even after being knocked to the ground. Stay away and warn others to do the same.
• Pull some plugs. Turn off or disconnect the refrigerator, freezer, television, air conditioner and other major appliances that would go on automatically when the power is restored. This precaution will avoid overloading a circuit when power comes back on - and the chance of a second interruption. After power is restored, turn them on one at a time.
• Flip a switch. Turn one or two light switches on so you will know when your service is restored.
• There are also some steps you can take during and after a storm to ensure the safety of your family, home and pets.
• Keep your food cold. Resist the urge to peek in on the refrigerator and freezer. Food will stay cold or frozen longer if the appliance stays closed.
• Use caution with your food. Check with your local health department and remember the rule, "When in doubt, throw it out!" The University of Illinois Extension Service says these foods should be discarded after four hours without power:

o Raw or cooked meat, poultry and seafood
o Milk, cream, yogurt and soft cheeses
o Cooked pasta and pasta salads
o Custard, chiffon and cheese pies
o Fresh eggs and egg substitutes
o Meat-topped pizza and lunch meats
o Casseroles, soups and stews
o Mayonnaise and tartar sauce
o Cookie dough

These foods should be safe for a few days without power:

o Butter and margarine
o Fresh fruits and vegetables
o Opened jars of salad dressing, jelly, relish, barbecue sauce, mustard, ketchup and olives
o Hard and processed cheeses