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Ameren Illinois Utilities Activate Emergency Operations Center in Wake of Early Morning Storms; Residents Urged to Report and Stay Away from Downed Wires

PEORIA, Ill., Aug. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The Ameren Illinois Utilities have activated their Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to coordinate service restoration work in the wake of early morning storms that left more than 28,000 customers without electrical service.

"Our top priority in this storm restoration effort is the safety of our customers, our coworkers and our contractors," said Carl Spence, manager of Ameren Illinois Division I.

"People can help by making sure they report any downed power lines and by warning others to stay away from these lines. Residents should stay away from brush and downed trees which may hide downed wires."

Anyone who sees a downed wire should immediately report it by calling their Ameren Illinois Utility (AmerenCILCO - 1-888-672-5252; AmerenCIPS - 1-888-789-2477; AmerenIP - 1-800-755-5000).

The Ameren Illinois Utilities have mobilized their personnel to restore service throughout the storm impacted areas.

The storms raced through Central Illinois, beginning at about 5:00 a.m. today, leaving a total of 28,352 customers without electrical service as of 8:00 a.m. today. The hardest hit area was Peoria County with 15,926 customer outages at 8:00 a.m. There were 4,000 outages in Tazewell County, 2,900 outages in Woodford County and 1,778 outages in Iroquois County. Other hard hit counties were Livingston with 702 outages, La Salle with 657 outages McLean with 425 outages.

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.


Ameren offers these tips for your safety and for coping with power outages (also available on http://www.ameren.com)/

Check on the elderly. If you know an elderly person in your neighborhood who is without power, check on that person's health.

Watch out for downed wires. If you see a fallen or sagging wire, assume that it is still energized and dangerous. Electric power lines can carry power even after being knocked to the ground. Stay away and warn others to do the same.

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.

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!" The University
      of Illinois Extension Service says these foods should be discarded
      after four hours without power:
      --  Raw or cooked meat, poultry and seafood
      --  Milk, cream, yogurt and soft cheeses
      --  Cooked pasta and pasta salads
      --  Custard, chiffon and cheese pies
      --  Fresh eggs and egg substitutes
      --  Meat-topped pizza and lunch meats
      --  Casseroles, soups and stews
      --  Mayonnaise and tartar sauce
      --  Cookie dough

  These foods should be safe for a few days without power:
      --  Butter and margarine
      --  Fresh fruits and vegetables
      --  Opened jars of salad dressing, jelly, relish, taco sauce, barbecue
          sauce, mustard, ketchup and olives
      --  Hard and processed cheeses

SOURCE: Ameren Illinois Utilities

CONTACT: Leigh Morris, +1-217-535-5228, or Neal Johnson,
+1-309-677-5284, both of Ameren Illinois Utilities

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