AmerenUE continues to pour additional resources into Southeast Missouri. The number of lineworkers, tree-trimming contractors and other support personnel will exceed 1,000 – all dedicated to battling the effects of a devastating ice storm that hit the area Monday and Tuesday. The number of customers without power stands at 8,600 as of 9 a.m., today.
Expectations are that the majority of customers will be restored by end of day today. However, restoration efforts will continue through Thursday.
The damage extends from Dexter through Cape Girardeau to Charleston. Jean Mason, manager of AmerenUE’s SEMO Division, says power restoration efforts continue to be hampered by frigid temperatures and a heavy coating of ice that remains on trees and power lines--causing new outages to continue to occur.
AmerenUE has set up three “storm trailers” stocked with materials needed to make repairs, along with a Mobile Command Center to help coordinate power restoration.
“We continue to appreciate our customers’ patience as we work to get their power back on,” Mason says. “Our top priority is the safety of our employees and the public. People can help by making sure they report any downed power lines and warning others to stay away from these lines until repair crews can get there. To contact AmerenUE, call us at 1-800-552-7583.”
Mason also warns customers installing generators about safety issues related to their installation. Anyone using a portable generator should follow strict safety requirements to prevent injury or death both to themselves and to the utility field crews attempting to restore thousands of customers. If a customer plans to install a temporary generator, that customer must first open the main breaker or remove the main fuses before connecting the generator to the electrical systems. Failure to do this could seriously injure utility crews working on outside power lines, and/or it could cause damage to a neighbor’s property or the customer’s own equipment.
Customers should never use a portable generator indoors, including in a home, garage, basement, shed or partially-enclosed area – even with ventilation. Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent the carbon monoxide exhaust from building up in the home. Only use a portable generator outdoors in a dry area far away from doors, windows and vents. Following this advice can save lives. Also, exercise extreme caution when handling fuel for portable generators, especially when re-fueling hot or running generators.
Information regarding permanently installed generators, a full description of AmerenUE’s power restoration process, along with advice on how customers can cope with outages is available under “Storm Center” on the Ameren Web site: www.ameren.com.
With 1.2 million customers, AmerenUE is Missouri’s largest electric utility and third largest distributor of natural gas. It is a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation. Ameren, through its subsidiaries serves 2.4 million electric customers and nearly one million natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area of Missouri and Illinois.
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CONTACT: Susan Gallagher, 314-554-2175