The Ameren Illinois Utilities have about 450 people assigned to power restoration effort in the wake of a late winter storm that moved into southern and eastern Illinois yesterday evening and this morning. Personnel include about 250 linemen from the Ameren Illinois Utilities and outside contractor companies, as well as 200 tree trimmers, management and field checking workers.
The majority of outages occurred in the Ameren Illinois Utilities’ southern and eastern Illinois service territories. Impacted communities include Salem, Centralia, Mount Vernon, Flora, Effingham, Farina, Paris, Villa Grove, Kinmundy, Kell, Tamaroa, Grand Tower and many nearby communities.
Outages in the impacted areas peaked at about 11,300 Tuesday afternoon. Approximately 5,800 customers were still without power at 4:00 p.m. today. Customer outage numbers have fluctuated throughout the day due to strong winds and ice, which contribute to a problem known as “galloping conductors.” When strong winds blow across ice-covered power lines (conductors), the lines may violently oscillate (galloping conductors). Outages can occur when the galloping power lines come into contact with each other or when the galloping action causes power lines to fall to the ground. The galloping phenomenon will come to an end as the winds die down.
Ameren Illinois officials anticipate a significant number of customers will have their power restored by late this evening and nearly all customers will have service restored tomorrow. However, some isolated outages could persist into Thursday.
The Ameren Illinois Utilities warn all residents to stay away from downed power lines, which may still be energized.
"Our top priority is the safety of our coworkers, contractors and the public," said Ron Pate, Ameren Illinois vice president of Regional Operations. "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 may call AmerenCIPS at 1-888-789-2477, AmerenIP at 1-800-755-5000 or AmerenCILCO at 1-888-672-5252 to report downed wires.
A full description of the Ameren Illinois Utilities’’ restoration process and tips on how customers can prepare for service disruptions is available on the Ameren Web site at www.ameren.com (select “Outage Information” from the left-hand menu, select Ameren Illinois Outage Information and then select “Ameren’s Storm Response” from the left-hand menu). Customers can learn more about power outage situations by selecting “Outage Information” and then such menu options as the “Outage Map” and “My Electric Outage.”
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: Leigh Morris of Ameren, +1-217-535-5228