In the wake of a line of severe thunderstorms that moved across its service territory overnight, Ameren Illinois activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at 7:00 a.m. Field crews are currently assessing the damage to Ameren Illinois' electric infrastructure and have begun making repairs.
At the peak, 40,021 Ameren Illinois customers lost power as a result of the storms. Early assessments indicate numerous poles and wires are down. Outages are primarily concentrated in these areas:
Metro East: Alton, Granite City, Maryville/Edwardsville, Riverbend, Hillsboro, East St. Louis, Belleville and Jerseyville
South: Centralia, Mount Vernon and Salem
East-Central: Effingham, Olney and Robinson
Ron Pate, senior vice president of Operations and Technical Services for Ameren Illinois, said the company's first priority is safety. Potentially life-threatening situations, such as downed power lines and service disruptions at hospitals and other critical facilities, will be handled first.
"Our crews are focused on repairing large transmission lines followed by the distribution lines and feeder circuits that bring power to neighborhoods and customer premises," said Pate. "All of our customers can be assured that we are working to bring everyone back on as quickly and safely as possible.”
Ameren Illinois reminds customers of these hot weather safety tips:
• During extremely hot weather, check on friends, neighbors and relatives who may be especially vulnerable to high temperatures, such as those who are older, have medical issues or do not have air conditioning.
• Consider going to an air conditioned place during the hottest times of the day. Options may include the home of a friend or neighbor, a shopping mall or a public building. Some communities may have temporary cooling centers. Ameren Illinois will provide information on cooling centers as the information becomes available.
• In addition to staying as cool as possible, it is important to drink plenty of water or other liquids that do not contain caffeine, alcohol or large amounts of sugar. Never wait until you are thirsty to drink.
• Keep shades, curtains and blinds closed during the day to reduce effects of solar heating.
Customers are reminded of the following actions they can take to remain safe:
• Call Ameren Illinois at 1-800-755-5000 as soon as possible to report a downed line, natural gas odor, or an outage.
• Stay away from downed power lines because these lines may still be energized. During an outage, individuals are asked to stay indoors after sunset because downed lines may not be visible. Stay away from brush, shrubs and fallen trees that may be hiding these lines.
• If your electric service is interrupted, unplug or protect sensitive computer and electronic equipment with a high-quality surge protector.
Media are encouraged to view the new Ameren Illinois outage map for details --outagemap.ameren.com. Updates will be provided throughout the day on Twitter @AmerenIllinois and Facebook.
About Ameren Illinois
Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and 816,000 natural gas customers in Illinois. Our mission is to power the quality of life. Our service area covers more than 1,200 communities and 43,700 square miles. For more information, visit AmerenIllinois.com. Follow us on Twitter @AmerenIllinois and Facebook.