ST. LOUIS (June 3, 2020) – Today, Ameren Missouri donated 1,000 air conditioners and 1,000 four-packs of LED light bulbs to Cooldownstlouis.org and Cooldownmissouri.org to support the most vulnerable customers in St. Louis and eastern Missouri.
It was also announced that Cooldownstlouis.org and Cooldownmissouri.org are partner agencies in Ameren Missouri's COVID-19 Clean Slate program, which launched today. Through the program, Ameren Missouri is donating $3 million to help families pay off past-due energy bills. Cooldownstlouis.org and Cooldownmissouri.org will receive $500,000 of the Clean Slate funds.
"The summer heat in our region can be extremely dangerous for people without access to air conditioning, particularly for seniors and those with medical conditions," said Marty Lyons, chairman and president of Ameren Missouri. "Our partnership with Cooldownstouis.org, Cooldownmissouri.org and the social service and community action agencies from across our service territory helps ensure our customers can stay safe and healthy as temperatures begin to rise."
"Our COVID-19 Clean Slate program is similar to one we had following the economic crisis in 2009 which helped thousands of Missourians pay off their energy bills," Lyons added. "
This year's air conditioner donation marks the 20th anniversary of Cooldownstlouis.org and Cooldownmissouri’s “Save our Seniors” (S.O.S) Cooling Summer Project and the 15th year of participation by Ameren Missouri, resulting in more than 8,500 window air conditioning units delivered to qualified seniors and physically disabled customers across the region. The air conditioners are ENERGY STAR®-certified units, and on average, cost less than a dollar a day to operate.
“Community and corporate cooperation is a great foundation for success,” said Missouri Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe, honorary co-chair of Cooldownmissouri.org. “Cool Down Missouri and Ameren have established an ongoing partnership with far-reaching benefits. I am grateful for their teamwork and will continue to highlight this partnership as a prime example of a successful corporate/non-profit collaboration.”
Said Dr. Sam Page, St. Louis County Executive and honorary co-chair of Cooldownstouis.org: “No senior or physically disabled resident should be allowed to suffer a heat stroke this summer or have the dangerous hot, humid St. Louis weather exacerbate an on-going medical condition because of the lack of a working A/C. Also, we all should be impressed with Ameren’s COVID-19 Clean Slate program.”
Today, while social distancing, many volunteers prepared donated units for state-wide distribution to an already large waiting list of qualified seniors and physically disabled clients. Joining Lyons were Ameren Missouri volunteers, Cool Down board members, Missouri Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page; Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson, Greater St. Louis Area Fire Chiefs Association; Michael P. McMillan, president and CEO, the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc., chair emeritus Reverend Earl. E. Nance, Jr., and Linda Fritz, program director NECAC, and popular St. Louis television meteorologists.
“The COVID-19 epidemic has presented so many economic challenges,” said St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, honorary chair of Cooldownstlouis.org. “So today’s donation of air conditioners by Ameren is phenomenal news. This means a lot of grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, and uncles who may need to stay sheltered now will not have to worry about a working A/C or a high utility bill. Thank you, Ameren, also for your leadership in partnering with Cool Down and for embarking on your ambitious statewide Ameren Missouri COVID-19 Clean Slate program. “
Elderly and physically disabled customers, as well as low-to-moderate income families, are encouraged to apply for the energy assistance funds by visiting CooldownSt.Louis.org and Cooldownmissouri.org or by calling 314-241-0001 or 314-657-1599, which are their hotlines for seniors and disabled only.
“This is fantastic news. The unveiling of the Ameren Missouri COVID-19 Clean Slate program, along with the donation of 1,000 air conditioners – these are great humanitarian efforts that will keep our area’s most vulnerable neighbors safe this summer,” said Michael P. McMillan, a Cooldownstlouis.org board member and president and CEO, the Urban League Metropolitan St. Louis. Inc. “Ameren has always been the leader in stepping up to the plate to make a difference in improving the quality of life for literally thousands. We are all grateful for their generosity.”
The Cool Down S.O.S. (Save our Seniors) summer project also encourages area residents to check on their elderly neighbors to make sure their air conditioners are on and working. “We’re trying to save as many lives each summer as humanly possible, and that effort begins with each neighbor helping each neighbor,” said
Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson, representing Cooldownstlouis.org and the Greater St. Louis Area Fire Chiefs Association. “Ameren has given us two powerful tools which will strengthen our region’s safety.”
Cool Down will also be distributing 100,000 cooling cards with helpful summer tips as well as Ameren’s contact information to further assist with various programs throughout the summer months. Ameren Missouri also encourages customers who are having difficulty paying their bill to contact the Customer Care team, or visit the payment assistance page on AmerenMissouri.com/EnergyAssistance for more information on COVID-19 Clean Slate and other available programs.
Other assistance and account management programs include:
About Cooldownstlouis.org and Cooldownmissouri.org
Cooldownstlouis.org is a bi-state non-profit dedicated to providing education and resources to help the most vulnerable citizens, especially seniors, low-income families and the physically disabled. The organization works with more than 34 agencies to make sure utility bills are paid and the community's most vulnerable citizens have access to the energy-efficient air conditioners they need to stay safe.
About Ameren Missouri
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 132,000 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, visit Ameren.com/Missouri or follow us on Twitter at @AmerenMissouri or Facebook.com/AmerenMissouri.
Ameren Missouri Communications
Editor's note: soundbites and video B-roll are available here.