PEORIA, Ill., SPRINGFIELD, Ill. and DECATUR, Ill., Dec. 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Ameren Illinois utilities have assigned nearly 150 Ameren employees as well as more than 270 workers from other contracting companies to restore electrical service in Jacksonville and other Central and West Central Illinois communities. Additional Ameren and external workers will arrive later in the day.
The weekend ice storm left ice coatings of up to 1-inch, resulting in a loss of service for customers in Menard, Cass, Morgan, Brown, Scott, Logan, Calhoun, Jersey and neighboring counties. Crews worked through Sunday and into night, restoring service to several thousand customers.
Jacksonville was the hardest hit area. As of 9:40 a.m. today, about 7,500 customers are without electrical service in the Jacksonville area. About 2,500 customers remain without service primarily in Logan, Scott, Calhoun and Jersey counties. Ameren Illinois utilities estimate all outages will be restored to service by midnight today unless there is further damage due to icing, wind or other weather conditions. Updates will be provided later today.
"We appreciate our customers' patience during these extended outages," said Bill Prebil, vice president, Ameren Illinois utilities. "Our crews and contractors are working hard and safely to restore service as promptly as possible. We are working closely with city officials and emergency response personnel to coordinate restoration efforts and ensure customer safety."
Ameren Illinois warns all residents to stay away from downed power lines, which may still be energized. Residents should stay away from brush and downed trees which may hide downed wires.
If residents see downed wires, they should immediately call their Ameren Illinois utility (AmerenCIPS - 1-888-789-2477; AmerenIP - 1-800-755-5000, and AmerenCILCO - 1-888-672-5252) or "911."
Due to the ice storm's extensive damage to the electric service entrances at customers' homes, the services of an electrical contractor may be required to reattach or repair customer-owned facilities, such as the meter base, weatherhead or point of attachment. See http://www.ameren.com/ for a diagram showing this arrangement.
If a customer notices damage to these facilities, the customer should contact an electrical contractor to make repairs so utility workers can safely restore service. Not repairing this damage could delay restoration to the customer's home.
The Ameren Illinois utilities serve 1.2 million electric customers and more than 840,000 natural gas customers in a 43,700-square-mile area of Illinois.
NOTE TO EDITORS and NEWS DIRECTORS:
Ameren offers these tips for your safety and for coping with power outages:
-- 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. -- 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. -- Flip a switch. Turn one or two light switches on so you will know when your service is restored.
SOURCE: Ameren Illinois utilities
CONTACT: Erica Abbett, +1-618-236-4329, or Natalie Hemmer,
+1-217-424-7541, or Neal Johnson, +1-309-677-5284, or Leigh Morris,
+1-217-535-5228, all for Ameren Illinois utilities
Web site: http://www.ameren.com/