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160,000 Restored of More Than 500,000 Customers Affected by Massive STorm
St. Louis, MO, Thursday, - Ameren companies have restored more than 160,000 customers of more than 500,000 customers affected by the devastating July 19 storm. The storm hit around 7 p.m. last night, with about 400,000 customers remaining without service as of 4 p.m., today (Thursday, July 20).

More than 1,800 contractors and employees are working to restore power. These workers are not only from across Missouri and Illinois, but also from Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee to help restore power.

Ameren officials are estimating that restoration will take at least 72 hours for most customers and could be longer than that given the nature of the damage. The company will make more customer-specific restoration times available as soon as possible. However, calls into the contact center have broken all records with more than 40,000 calls per hour recorded the first day after the storm. Ameren officials are asking customers to call only once a day to allow the companies to deal with all the many restoration demands resulting from storm's unprecedented damage.

Company officials also urge customers to avoid downed power lines. Customers who see a fallen or sagging wire should assume that it is still energized and dangerous. Electric power lines can carry power even after being knocked to the ground. Citizens should stay away from these lines and warn others to do the same.

For those who can access it, Ameren's Web site - www.ameren.com - offers a range of information on our restoration process, preparation for outages, ways to keep cool and techniques for conserving energy use. That Web site also provides information on the number of outages in each ZIP code and across Ameren companies' service area. However, customers have been asked to exit that site as soon as they have retrieved their information so that others can visit the site. The site has at times been overloaded with the enormous number of visitors attempting to access outage information over the past few days.

"We have called out all Ameren company crews, available contractor crews and are requesting assistance from utility companies across a nine-state area. We do appreciate our customers' patience during this critical time," said Richard Mark, senior vice president, AmerenUE Missouri Energy Delivery. "We are working closely with city and state officials and emergency response personnel to coordinate restoration efforts and ensure customer safety. Work will be continuing around the clock."

Ameren, through its subsidiaries, serves 2.4 million electric customers and one million natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area of Missouri and Illinois.