Ameren Illinois officials encourage customers to take precautions and want to issue a safety warning to all residents in the impacted areas following last night’s storms.
“Safety is our priority every day of the year, but it takes on added significance when severe weather strikes,” said Ron Pate, vice president of Operations and Technical Service, Ameren Illinois. “The first safety rule is to stay away from downed power lines and always call us at 800-755-5000 if you see downed lines,” Pate said. “Never go outside during a power outage after sunset because you won't be able to see a downed power line that could still be energized and dangerous. Stay away from brush, shrubs and downed trees that may hide downed lines.”
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.
Last night’s storm began working its way through the Ameren Illinois territory at about 7:00 p.m. At its peak, more than 32,000 customers were without power overnight. As of 3:00 p.m. today, there are about 11,300 customers without power. Ameren Illinois is unable to provide estimated restoration times until the full extent of the damage to the distribution system is known. Real-time outage information is available at illinoisoutage.com. Photos of storm damage across the Ameren Illinois territory are available on the outage page and at Twitter.com/AmerenIllinois.
Customer Safety Tips
Before A Storm
The measures customers should take to prepare for a power outage or loss of natural gas service are similar to those needed to prepare for any emergency situation.
Portable Generator Safety
Customers who use portable generators during a power outage must remember that they can become deadly when not used properly. Those who install a portable generator should also install a safety disconnect switch to prevent the electricity produced by the generator from feeding back into the utility lines. Never plug a generator directly into an outlet to power a home.
Back feeding electricity into utility lines thought to be de-energized could result in damage to property. More seriously, back fed power poses an unseen hazard to utility personnel who are working on the power lines. In the event power is back fed into downed power lines, anyone coming into contact with those lines could be seriously injured or killed. Portable generators also must never be operated inside a garage or other building as generator engines produce deadly carbon monoxide.
Reporting an Outage
If your power goes out, call Ameren Illinois at any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week – and always call as soon as possible to report a downed line or natural gas odor. The Ameren Illinois contact number is 800-755-5000. In addition to the safety and outage information available at IllinoisOutage.com, customers and media can receive timely updates on outage restoration by following the Ameren Illinois news feed at Twitter.com/AmerenIllinois.
Electrical safety advice:
In the event of flooding, Ameren Illinois will turn off electrical power to a home or business at the request of a customer. Contact Ameren Illinois at 800-755-5000 to have the power turned off when flood waters are likely to reach the main electrical panel box. Ameren Illinois also will turn power off at the request of local authorities.
Natural gas safety advice:
If flood waters reach or are likely to reach the controls of a natural gas furnace, water heater or other appliance (generally, the controls are located at the bottom of the appliance), call Ameren Illinois at 800-755-5000 to have the natural gas service turned off. Ameren Illinois also will turn off natural gas service at the request of local authorities.
Ameren Illinois recommends these actions after a flood:
Additional safety information is available at IllinoisOutage.com and at SafeElectricity.org. Additional flood recovery information is available from the University of Illinois Extension at web.extension.illinois.edu/disaster/.
Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and 806,000 natural gas customers in 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 or find us on Twitter @AmerenIllinois.
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