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Ameren Illinois Utilities Work to Restore Power in Southern Illinois
More than 800 Workers Dedicated to Restoration Efforts

CARBONDALE, MARION, Ill., Feb. 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Ameren Illinois Utilities have restored power to nearly 14,000 of the 18,400 AmerenCIPS customers who lost power as a result of the ice storm that struck Southern Illinois earlier this week. At 4 p.m., approximately 4,500 AmerenCIPS customers are still without power.

More than 800 people have been working restoring power those customers. That includes nearly 480 Ameren Illinois Utility workers and outside contractor personnel from across the state, as well as more than 320 tree trimmers, management and field checking workers assigned to the restoration effort.

The Ameren Illinois Utilities expect to restore power to the majority of customers by the end of the day Thursday. Some single outages may extend into Friday.

"We appreciate our customers' patience as we work to get their power back on," said John Barud, manager of Ameren Illinois Division VI. "The safety of our co-workers, contractors and the public remains our top priority. People can help by making sure they report any downed power lines and by warning others to stay away from these lines until repair crews can get there. Residents should stay away from brush and downed trees which may hide downed wires."

Customers can call AmerenCIPS at 1-888-789-2477 to report downed wires.

Barud 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 power. Customers planning to install a temporary generator 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, away from doors, windows and vents. Customers should also exercise extreme caution when handling fuel for portable generators, especially when re-fueling hot generators.

Information regarding permanently installed generators, a full description of the Ameren Illinois Utilities' power restoration process, along with advice on how customers can cope with outages is available under "Storm Center" on the Ameren Web site: http://www.ameren.com/.

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.

SOURCE: Ameren Illinois Utilities

CONTACT: Erica Abbett of Ameren Illinois Utilities, +1-618-236-4329

Web site: http://www.ameren.com/