ST. LOUIS, March 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The arrival of spring can bring thunderstorms, and AmerenUE is already reviewing its storm preparation and response processes to ensure that if a storm hits, it can respond as quickly and safely as possible. When severe weather threatens, the company prepares for each unique storm situation by monitoring weather conditions, placing crews on alert and readying equipment and communications systems.
During and following severe storms, AmerenUE's first priority is to correct potentially life-threatening situations, such as downed power lines or hospitals without power. The company then implements carefully designed power restoration plans designed to get power back to the greatest number of people in the shortest amount of time.
In restoring electricity, crews begin with main lines -- those that serve thousands of people. Then they move to lines that can affect hundreds; secondary lines that affect dozens; and finally to service lines at individual homes.
Throughout the restoration process, AmerenUE maintains contact with state and local emergency management agencies and designated company staff, who keep the news media and public officials up-dated on the status of restoration efforts.
AmerenUE also now has several 53-foot "storm trailers" that serve as mobile storerooms when severe weather strikes. The trailers are fully stocked with everything a repair crew might need -- from wire to computers -- as well as generators that power outlets to charge cell phones and laptops, and an undercarriage to tote large cross arms. Specially trained employees distribute materials to restoration crews, order new materials and coordinate communications between the mobile storeroom and warehouses. In addition, a mobile communications center serves as a central command from which all of our crews function, cutting response time.
For a full description of how you can prepare for service disruptions during winter storms, check out the Storm Center on http://www.ameren.com/ .
The measures you should take to prepare for a power outage or loss of natural gas service are similar to those you should take to prepare for any emergency situation. Here are some tips on dealing with severe storms:
-- Please stay clear of downed power lines and always call if you see downed lines. Don't walk in standing water and don't venture out in the dark because you won't be able to see a power line that could still be energized and dangerous. -- Because most major outages are caused by bad weather, start by developing shelter plans for severe storm and tornado conditions. -- Then, assemble a "storm kit" and store it in a secure, centrally located part of your house. Make sure all family members know where to find that kit. It should contain: -- Emergency telephone numbers; flashlights and fresh batteries; a battery-powered radio; a battery-powered or wind-up alarm clock; a supply of bottled water (one gallon per person per day); non-perishable foods that don't require heating; blankets, bedding or sleeping bags; a first-aid kit and medications; a hand-operated can opener; special items for infants, the elderly or family members with special needs; hand tools such as a screwdriver, scissors and duct tape; household items like plastic utensils, paper plates, waterproof matches and household bleach; identification and copies of important family documents. -- If your electric service is interrupted, check first with a neighbor to see if you are the only one without power. If you are the only one without service, check your panel box for a tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse. If any breakers are in the "off" position or if a fuse is blown, you should investigate the problem. -- If you are still without power, or if others in your neighborhood are experiencing a power outage, call AmerenUE, 24 hours a day, seven days a week -- and always call as soon as possible to report a downed line or natural gas odor! That number is 800-552-7583. -- Because AmerenUE has customers on almost every major line who need electricity to operate life-support equipment, the companies can't offer assurances that these customers will get their service restored any faster. If you have such equipment, you need to invest in private back-up power systems and develop alternative care plans to ensure safety and security. You should also register with AmerenUE's Medical Equipment Registry to make it easier for us to notify you in the event of a planned maintenance outage. Again, for more on this registry or for much more information on what to do during a storm, visit http://www.ameren.com/ .
AmerenUE serves 1.2 million electric and 125,000 natural gas customers across Missouri. Ameren, through its subsidiaries, serves 2.4 million electric and nearly one million natural gas customers in a 64,000-square- mile area of Illinois and Missouri.
CONTACT: Susan Gallagher, +1-314-554-2175, or Tim Fox,
+1-314-554-3120, or Mike Cleary, +1-573-681-7137, all of AmerenUE
Web site: http://www.ameren.com/