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Ameren Illinois Utilities Issue Electric, Natural Gas Flood Safety Information

PEORIA, SPRINGFIELD and DECATUR, Ill., June 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Weather Service today has issued flood warnings and flash flood watches (see: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ilx/) along with forecasts for severe weather (see: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/wxstory.php?site=ilx) for much of the territory served by the Ameren Illinois Utilities.

"The forecasts for heavy rains mean that residents must be aware of the electrical hazards and natural gas safety issues that can occur during floods," said Bill Prebil, Ameren Illinois Utilities vice president of Regional Operations.

"Safety is our first and foremost concern when severe weather strikes. Also, all of our divisions are ready to respond to any outages that occur as a result of severe weather," said Ron Pate, Ameren Illinois Utilities vice president of Regional Operations.

When water comes into contact with energized electrical wiring, appliances and other devices, it creates a serious threat of serious injury and electrocution.

  The Ameren Illinois Utilities offer these key electric safety tips:

  -- Never enter a flooded basement or other flooded area where water may be
     in contact with electrical wiring, appliances and other devices.
  -- Under no circumstances should you attempt to turn off power at the main
     electrical panel box if you must stand in water or even on a wet floor
     to do so.
  -- Furthermore, never operate electrical appliances or devices or touch
     electrical switches, outlets or cords if you are standing in water or
     are on a wet surface, or if you are wet.
  -- Keep all electric-powered tools and equipment at least 10 feet away
     from water and wet surfaces. Do not use electric tools and equipment
     outdoors if the ground is wet.

  Natural gas safety tips:

  -- If you detect a strong odor of natural gas, immediately leave your home
     or business and call your Ameren Illinois Utilities (AmerenCILCO -
     1-888-672-5252; AmerenCIPS - 1-888-789-2477; AmerenIP -
     1-800-755-5000). Do not turn lights on or off, operate any electrical
     device, use a phone or light a match inside or near the building.
  -- If you detect a faint odor of natural gas, attempt to follow the odor
     to its source. It may be an extinguished pilot light or a partially
     turned on burner valve. These are problems you can safely and easily

In the event of flooding, the Ameren Illinois Utilities will turn off electrical power to a home or business at the request of a customer. Customers should contact their Ameren Illinois Utilities to have the power turned off when flood waters are likely to reach the main electrical panel box. The Ameren Illinois Utilities also will turn power off at the request of local authorities.

If flood waters reach the controls of a natural gas furnace, water heater or other appliance (generally, the controls are located at the bottom the appliance), contact your Ameren Illinois Utilities to have your natural gas service turned off. The Ameren Illinois Utilities also will turn off natural gas service at the request of local authorities.

The Ameren Illinois Utilities recommend following these tips after a flood:

  -- If an electrical appliance has been in contact with water, have a
     professional electrician or appliance repair person check it first.
     Often, appliances must be repaired or replaced.
  -- If you have any doubts about the safety of your home or business
     electrical system, have it inspected by a professional electrician.
  -- Call in a professional service person to inspect a furnace, water
     heater and any other natural gas appliance that was entirely or
     partially submerged.
  -- If your electrical or natural gas service was turned off, contact your
     Ameren Illinois Utilities to have it turned on after you have made
     certain your electrical and natural gas systems are safe to use. Never
     attempt to turn services on yourself.

Additional safety information is available 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: Leigh Morris, +1-217-535-5228, or Neal Johnson,
+1-309-677-5284, both for Ameren Illinois Utilities

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