PEORIA, Ill., DECATUR, Ill. and SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Aug. 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Ameren Illinois utilities today offered $500 checks to nearly 40 not-for-profit cooling centers in 24 large and small communities across downstate Illinois. The one-time grants are intended to offset higher expenses to run the centers during the hottest part of the summer. The assistance can be used to purchase fans or water or any other expense the facilities incur.
With temperatures expected to rise near the 100-degree mark this week, the Ameren Illinois utilities are making the checks available to non-profit cooling centers that are expected to assist thousands of residents throughout the Ameren Illinois utilities service area.
"We want to help these centers that are helping our customers keep cool," said Stan Ogden, director of customer service for the Ameren Illinois utilities. "We know customers who don't have air conditioning in their homes often depend on these centers for relief. The centers provide a vital service during times of extreme heat."
The Ameren Illinois utilities have identified 37 centers to receive the assistance. Those centers are listed at the end of this release.
The cooling centers, all in the service territory of the Ameren Illinois utilities -- AmerenCILCO, AmerenIP and AmerenCIPS -- receiving the assistance must be open to the public and must not be a governmental entity. The assistance is not part of the $1 billion rate relief agreement passed by the Illinois General Assembly last month.
In addition to offering aid to cooling centers, the Ameren Illinois utilities suggest the following tips to its customers to combat the extreme heat.
* Drink plenty of fluids to keep hydrated, even if you aren't thirsty. * Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing to keep cool. * Slow down. Avoid strenuous activity and too much direct sunlight. * Look in on neighbors, especially senior citizens. Some elderly people and those with certain medical conditions may not sense that indoor temperatures have reached dangerously high levels. Check in on these people during heat waves to make certain they are safe and comfortable. * Watch for signs of heat-related illness: difficulty breathing, dizziness or fainting, excessive sweating, headaches, confusion, nausea. If you suspect someone has a heat-related illness, have them lie down in a cool place, give them sips of cool water and call for help. * Think cool, stay relaxed. Remaining calm in times of stress can help moderate your body temperature.
Additional information about how to conserve energy and manage utility bills can be found on the Ameren Web site http://www.ameren.com/.
The Ameren Illinois utilities serve 1.2 million electric and more than 800,000 natural gas customers in Illinois.
Following is a list of cooling centers to receive the credit/check: Alton: The Salvation Army, 525 Alby; American Legion Hall, Post 794, 120 East Alton Ave. Belleville: The Salvation Army, 20 Glory Place. Bloomington: Jesus Coffee House, 724 W. Washington. Carbondale: Good Samaritan House, 701 S. Marion; Senior Adult Services, 409 N. Springer. Centralia: St. Mary's Good Samaritan Hospital, 400 N. Pleasant. Champaign: RSVP, 48 Main. Charleston: Charleston Senior Center, 720 6th Street. Collinsville: Collinsville Senior Citizens Center, 420 E. Main. Cuba: Cuba Senior Center, 117 S. 3rd Street. Danville: CRIS Senior Service, 309 Franklin. Decatur: The Ameren Red Cross, 2674 N. Main; The Salvation Army, 229 W. Main; Oasis Day Center, 243 W. Cerro Gordo. East St. Louis: The Salvation Army, 616 16th Street; Lessie Bates, 1200 13th Street; Clyde Jordan Senior Center, 6755 State; Holy Angels Shelter, 1410 N. 37th Street; Mary Brown Center, 606 N. 15th Street. Galesburg: Galesburg Community Center, 150 E. Simmons. Granite City: The Salvation Army, 3007 E. 23rd Street. Hamel: Hamel Senior Citizens Center, 10 Park Avenue. Highland: Faith Countryside Homes, 1331 26th Street. Jacksonville: The Salvation Army, 331 W. Douglas. Lincoln: Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital, 315 8th Street. Mt. Vernon: Crossroads Community Hospital, 8 Doctors Park; St. Mary's Good Samaritan Hospital, 605 N. 12th Street. Pekin: Rust Transitional Center, 243 Derby. Peoria: The Salvation Army, 417 NE Adams and 414 NE Madison; Friendship House, 800 NE Madison; South Side Mission, 1127 Laramie. Quincy: The Salvation Army, 2220 Huntington; West Central Area Aging, 639 York. Salem: Salem Township Hospital, 1201 Ricker. West Frankfort: Wit & Wisdom Center. 225 E. Poplar.
SOURCE: Ameren Corporation
CONTACT: Peoria, Shelly Epstein, +1-309-677-5489, or Metro East, Erica
Abbett, +1-314-206-0646, or Decatur, Natalie Hemmer, +1-217-424-7541, or
Peoria, Neal Johnson, +1-309-677-5284, or Springfield, Leigh Morris,
+1-217-535-5228, all of Ameren Corporation
Web site: http://www.ameren.com/