MARION, Ill., Feb. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- More than 700 Ameren Illinois Utility workers and outside contractor personnel from across Illinois are working to restore power to about 13,400 AmerenCIPS customers in Southern Illinois. In addition, more than 180 tree trimmers, management and field checking workers have been assigned to the restoration effort.
Continued ice damage has resulted in downed power lines in some areas. The Ameren Illinois Utilities warn 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.
Areas experiencing the most significant damage include Anna, Carbondale, Marion, Harrisburg and surrounding communities. Resources from the entire Ameren Illinois Utilities service territory, as far north as Peoria and as far west as Quincy, have been deployed to the stricken areas.
Thick ice, falling tree limbs and windy conditions have caused outage numbers to fluctuate throughout the day. AmerenCIPS' territory in southern Illinois began experiencing outages at approximately 8:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 11, due to icing conditions. At approximately 2:00 o'clock Tuesday morning, approximately 1,000 customers were without power. That number rose to approximately 15,000 around 11:00 a.m. and after going up and down through the day, stood at about 13,400 at 4:00 p.m. If the winds increase this evening -- expected to be about 20 MPH -- the situation may be impacted further.
At the current time, the company is still assessing the damage from this storm and expects that many outages may extend into Friday. AmerenCIPS will provide an update on estimated restoration times as soon as they are available.
"Our effort to restore service safely to our customers has been hampered by weather conditions that have slowed our travel times prevented ice from melting off of trees and power lines," said John Barud, manager of Ameren Illinois Division VI. "Throughout the day, more tree limbs fell into electrical lines, resulting in additional outages and potentially hazardous situations.
"Our linemen and other personnel will continue to work long hours under adverse conditions until every customer has service restored."
AmerenCIPS officials are reaching out to its communities and any critical care facilities that are impacted and a direct number is being provided to help answer any questions.
"We understand the impact the loss of electricity service has on our customers," said Ron Pate, vice president, Regional Operations, Ameren Illinois Utilities. "This situation has been intensified by the fact that some customers have had their service restored only to experience a new outage due to continued weather-related problems."
If residents see downed wires, they should immediately call AmerenCIPS at 1-888-789-2477. Customers who have not previously reported a service outage may also call AmerenCIPS.
The Ameren Illinois utilities serve 1.2 million electric and more than 840,000 natural gas customers in a 43,700-square-mile area of Illinois.
CONTACT: Erica Abbett of Ameren, +1-618-236-4329, after hours,
Web site: http://www.ameren.com/