A strong line of storms, including at least four reported tornadoes, made its way across the northern part of the Ameren Illinois service territory Tuesday evening causing severe damage to electric infrastructure in the area. As of 9 pm, more than 8,400 customers remain without power in hard-hit LaSalle County. The Ameren Illinois Emergency Operations Center (EOC) remains activated and additional employees have been placed on alert.
"First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers go out to those communities affected by the tornadoes that made their way through LaSalle County this evening," said Richard Mark, president of Ameren Illinois. "Ameren Illinois crews are working through dangerous conditions to try to get power restored in these harder-hit areas. I want customers to be assured that we will work as long as needed to get power restored to those facilities that are capable of receiving power, but there is a lot of damage, and our primary concern is the safety of our personnel and our customers."
Strong to severe storms have produced large hail, high winds and heavy damage across the area Tuesday evening. Severe weather is forecast to continue overnight.
"We are continuing to monitor the weather situation throughout our service territory this evening," said Ron Pate, Senior Vice President of Operations and Technical Services. "So far, there are at least 73 broken or damaged power poles in the Ottawa area and extensive tree damage. Ameren Illinois currently has 89 personnel on the ground to support the restoration effort in LaSalle County. Gas crews have also been called into the Washburn area to address damage to the gas infrastructure. We will have every available resource deployed so we can address these system disruptions as quickly as possible."
Ameren Illinois has also deployed three Storm Trailers to the North Central Illinois region. These trailers are filled with materials field crews need to perform their restoration work. The trailers can be moved to various staging sites to provide materials close to the area with the most damage.
Customer safety tips
Customers are reminded of the following tips:
In addition to the safety and outage information available at AmerenIllinois.com, customers and media can receive timely updates on outage restoration by following the Ameren Illinois news feed at twitter.com/AmerenIllinois and Facebook.com/AmerenIllinois.
About Ameren Illinois
Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and 816,000 natural gas customers in downstate Illinois, and 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. Follow us on Twitter @AmerenIllinois and Facebook.