As part of its annual Air Conditioner Giveaway, Ameren Missouri donated 540 window air conditioners to Cooldownstlouis.org, a regional not-for-profit public education and resource charity, which will distribute them to disabled and elderly Ameren Missouri customers throughout eastern Missouri.
This is the 10th year that Ameren Missouri has sponsored the giveaway in partnership with Cooldownstlouis.org. Additionally, this year, through its energy efficiency programs and in collaboration with Cooldownstlouis.org, Ameren Missouri included a four-pack of 60-watt equivalent compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) that when installed can save $15 annually, helping customers better manage their energy costs.
“As a company, Ameren Missouri has built our reputation on providing safe and reliable energy to 1.2 million customers in communities throughout our state. However, we also connect with communities through a variety of unique programs – such as our Air Conditioner Giveaway,” said Michael Moehn, president, Ameren Missouri. “We're fortunate to have Cooldownstlouis.org as a dedicated partner leading this initiative. Over the years, we have formed a successful partnership that aims to keep people cool and safe during the hot summer months. We are proud to support Cooldownstlouis.org and its partner agencies, which do an outstanding job distributing the air conditioners and CFLs to qualified recipients throughout eastern Missouri.”
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 disabilities only) have already been selected by Cooldownstlouis.org and its partner agencies, which use age and certain medical circumstances to determine qualification.
The annual giveaway is supported by Cooldownstlouis.org board officials: St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay; 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; Melanie DiLeo, board chair; Rev. Earl E. Nance, Jr., board emeritus; and Michael P. McMillan, president and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.
"Hot St. Louis summers can be worrisome and dangerous for many of our neighbors," said St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, honorary board chair, Cooldownstlouis.org. "Seniors and people with disabilities shouldn't have to choose between cooling their homes to a safe and comfortable temperature and putting their lives at risk if they can't afford it. Thanks to the generosity of Ameren Missouri, Cooldownstlouis.org will be ready to help those in need by providing air conditioners to some of our most vulnerable neighbors. Please help us by checking on your neighbors and letting them know that resources are available to help them."
If you are a senior or person with disabilities and need help, visit Cooldownstlouis.org or call the automated hotline at 1.314.241.7668. Along with making the donation, Ameren Missouri also provided critically important maintenance instructions with each unit.
“Now that Ameren Missouri has given us this wonderful opportunity, we need to get our elderly and disabled people to have their relatives make sure they keep the air on this summer, by visiting them,” said Melanie DiLeo, Cooldownstlouis.org board chair. “We all need to make sure that AC units are properly maintained. Additionally, these energy efficient light bulbs that are being handed out today are a smart way for us all to become more energy efficient. Affordability has always been an issue with our seniors, and the combination of these donated units and light bulbs will make a significant difference.”
As part of Cooldownstlouis.org's 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.
“This significant gift of 540 ENERGY STAR air conditioners by Ameren Missouri comes at a time when many St. Louis County seniors and people with physical disabilities can’t afford to stay cool this summer. Ameren Missouri’s generosity marks a gift of life and will provide an opportunity for our seniors to remain healthy and safe during the smothering summer,” said St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, honorary vice chair, Cooldownstlouis.org. “We also want to remind our seniors who have AC units throughout the St. Louis region, in particular St. Louis County, to keep the air on and worry about your electricity second. If that is a problem, call us or go online to Cooldownstlouis.org. We want to avoid as many heat-related incidents as humanly possible.”
St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann, honorary co-chair, Cooldownstlouis.org, also expressed appreciation of Ameren Missouri and its commitment to the annual giveaway.
“Ameren Missouri’s gift of life is going to help us protect our seniors and physically disabled residents, as they are the most vulnerable with potential heat-related issues,” Ehlmann said. “The people of St. Charles are grateful for the effective teamwork of Ameren Missouri, Cooldownstlouis.org, and its network of agency partners. Because of everyone’s collective efforts, many vulnerable residents in need throughout our region can hopefully experience a safer and cooler summer.”
“On behalf of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, serving St. Louis County and City, and all of the Missouri agencies partnering today with Cooldownstlouis.org and Ameren Missouri, we want you to know that these air conditioners are in fact life-savers for hundreds of seniors and people with physical disabilities. There just isn’t any other way to say it. Life-savers if we also check on our neighbors to ensure they keep these AC units working and on,” said Michael P. McMillan, president and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc. “Many agencies are strapped for cash and have the inability to purchase brand new units. Cooldownstlouis.org’s creation of the Cooling Air Conditioning Caravan, in partnership with Ameren Missouri, has a legacy of assuring that our fragile neighbors are protected from what could be deadly summer heat. We’re going to take these units to our respective cities and counties, and put them into the use of hopefully saving lives and avoiding heat-related illnesses.”
“This summer, it’s important to have everyone check on their elderly and disabled neighbors to avoid heat-related illnesses,” said Rev. Earl E. Nance, Jr., board emeritus. “Thanks to Ameren Missouri, we’re able to distribute thousands of our Check on Your Neighbor Cooling Cards, which are a valuable resource for those in need.”
Nance indicated that area clergy, including the Clergy Coalition of Greater St. Louis, City/County human services, and health departments have been asked to distribute these cooling cards to thousands of area residents who are seeking assistance or cooling advice as part of the S.O.S. project.
“We do a lot of EMS heat-related runs during the summer months, and these gifts from Ameren Missouri to Cooldownstlouis.org over the years have truly been invaluable for our city's seniors and disabled residents,” said Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson, who also serves as Cooldownstlouis.org's co-chair of health and safety. “Need certainly knows no boundaries, and throughout the region people are in desperate need of air conditioners and utility assistance. Thanks to Ameren Missouri we can begin to meet those needs and the public can help us by their generous donations to support seniors and disabled people.”
Last year, Cooldownstlouis.org distributed more than 1,200 donated air conditioners thanks to Ameren Missouri and the general public. If a senior or person with disabilities needs assistance, please visit the Cooldownstlouis.org website or call the organization’s automated hotline at 1.314.241.7668.
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, AC tune-ups and refrigerator/freezer recycling. More information is available at AmerenMissouri.com/ActOnEnergy.
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.