St. Louis, MO, Friday, Aug. 24, 2007 – Approximately 40,000 customers lost power this afternoon when a thunderstorm featuring isolated high winds, lightning and very heavy rain moved through the St. Louis metropolitan area.
AmerenUE crews have mobilized to begin restoring power, and additional crews are currently headed to the St. Louis area from central Missouri. Work will continue throughout the evening to restore as many customers as possible tonight. However, many customers—especially those in the hardest-hit areas, including south St. Louis City and County—will be without power at least into tomorrow, Aug. 25.
Customers should watch out for downed wires. 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. Stay away and warn others to do the same.
“We began holding crews over this afternoon as these storms developed, and those and other crews we called in today are working now. We will have additional crews in the field tomorrow,” said Richard Mark, senior vice president, AmerenUE Missouri Energy Delivery. “We appreciate our customers’ patience and are working closely with government officials and emergency response personnel to coordinate restoration efforts and ensure customer safety.”
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.
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NOTE TO EDITORS and NEWS DIRECTORS:
Ameren offers these tips for your safety and for coping with power outages (also available on www.ameren.com):
Check on the elderly. If you know an elderly person in your neighborhood who is without power, check on that person’s health.
Watch out for downed wires. If you see a fallen or sagging wire, assume that it is still energized and dangerous. Electric power lines can carry power even after being knocked to the ground. Stay away and warn others to do the same.
Pull some plugs. Turn off or disconnect the refrigerator, freezer, television, air conditioner and other major appliances that would go on automatically when the power is restored. This precaution will avoid overloading a circuit when power comes back on – and the chance of a second interruption. After power is restored, turn them on one at a time.
Flip a switch. Turn one or two light switches on so you will know when your service is restored.
Keep your home as cool as possible: During the heat of the day, avoid activities that would add heat and humidity to your home. For maximum efficiency and comfort, position the a battery-operated fan to blow air out of the house during daylight hours and pull cooler air into the house after dark. For a window fan to work properly there should always be another window open in the area the fan is meant to ventilate.
There are also some steps you can take during and after a storm to ensure the safety of your family, home and pets.
Keep your food cold. Resist the urge to peek in on the refrigerator and freezer. Food will stay cold or frozen longer if the appliance stays closed.
• Use caution with your food. Check with your local health department and remember the rule, “When in doubt, throw it out!” The University of Illinois Extension Service says these foods should be discarded after four hours without power:
o Raw or cooked meat, poultry and seafood
o Milk, cream, yogurt and soft cheeses
o Cooked pasta and pasta salads
o Custard, chiffon and cheese pies
o Fresh eggs and egg substitutes
o Meat-topped pizza and lunch meats
o Casseroles, soups and stews
o Mayonnaise and tartar sauce
o Cookie dough
These foods should be safe for a few days without power:
o Butter and margarine
o Fresh fruits and vegetables
o Opened jars of salad dressing, jelly, relish, taco sauce, barbecue sauce, mustard, ketchup and olives
o Hard and processed cheeses