More than 2,700 contractors and employees\-up from 1,800 yesterday--are working to restore power. These workers are not only from across Missouri and Illinois, but also from Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee to help restore power. The company has reached out to utility companies and others across a nine-state area to pour resources into the area to get the power restored as quickly as possible. A number of companies have sent crews and others have committed 300 additional people, so more crews will be arriving tonight and tomorrow. National media attention to this storm has prompted utility companies from as far as Arizona to offer help.
Ameren officials are still estimating some customers may be out as long as a total of 72 hours\-and some could be out longer than that--given the nature of the damage. The company will make more customer-specific restoration times available as soon as possible. With calls into the company's contact center breaking all records, Ameren officials are asking customers to call only once a day to allow the companies to deal with all the many restoration demands resulting from this storm's unprecedented damage.
Ameren's Web site - www.ameren.com - is offering outage information by ZIP code with a map showing the most affected areas. The site offers a range of information on our restoration process, preparation for outages, ways to keep cool and techniques for conserving energy use. However, the company continues to ask customers to exit that site as soon as they have retrieved their information so that others can visit the site. The site has at times been overloaded with the enormous number of visitors attempting to access outage information over the past few days.
Company officials also urge customers to avoid downed power lines. Customers who see a fallen or sagging wire should assume that it is still energized and dangerous. Electric power lines can carry power even after being knocked to the ground. Citizens should stay away from these lines and warn others to do the same.
"We continue to work closely with city and state officials and emergency response personnel to coordinate restoration efforts and ensure customer safety. Work will be continuing around the clock," said Richard Mark, senior vice president, AmerenUE Missouri Energy Delivery. "Customers have been very patient\-especially in light of the hot, muggy weather that is not making the situation any easier for any of us. We want everyone to know we are pouring every possible resource into this to get people restored as quickly as possible."
Ameren, through its subsidiaries, serves 2.4 million electric customers and one million natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area of Missouri and Illinois.
Signs of Heat Exhaustion Customers should take cool baths or showers, stay out of direct sunlight, wear lightweight loose-fitting clothes and avoid hot foods and heavy meals. They should drink water frequently\-whether they feel thirsty or not. Anyone experiencing dizziness, dry skin (with no sweating) great weakness, nausea, diarrhea or vomiting should seek medical help. Anyone feeling disoriented, experiencing a throbbing headache or rapid heartbeat, breathing problems, chest pains or cramps should seek medical help. Customers without electricity should find a cool place\-open stores, libraries or other locations--rather than stay at home.
Check on the elderly. If you know an elderly person in your neighborhood who is without power, check on that person's health.
Pull some plugs. Turn off or disconnect the refrigerator, freezer, television, air conditioner and other major appliances that would go on automatically when the power is restored. This precaution will avoid overloading a circuit when power comes back on - and the chance of a second interruption. After power is restored, turn them on one at a time.
Flip a switch. Turn one or two light switches on so you will know when your service is restored.
Keep your home as cool as possible: During the heat of the day, avoid activities that would add heat and humidity to your home. For maximum efficiency and comfort, position the a battery-operated fan to blow air out of the house during daylight hours and pull cooler air into the house after dark. For a window fan to work properly there should always be another window open in the area the fan is meant to ventilate.
There are also some steps you can take during and after a storm to ensure the safety of your family, home and pets.
Keep your food cold. Resist the urge to peek in on the refrigerator and freezer. Food will stay cold or frozen longer if the appliance stays closed. Use caution with your food. Check with your local health department and remember the rule, "When in doubt, throw it out!"