PEORIA, Ill., Dec. 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Lights are back on for more than 136,000 homes and businesses as Ameren Illinois Utilities personnel work to complete the job of restoring electric service in the wake of a fierce ice storm and extremely high arctic winds.
Any customer who is still without electrical service is urged to immediately contact their Ameren Illinois Utilities company. The Ameren Illinois Utilities numbers are 888-672-5252 (AmerenCILCO), 888-789-2477 (AmerenCIPS) and 800-755-7000 (AmerenIP).
"We want to thank our customers for their patience and understanding during this service restoration effort," said Scott Cisel, president and chief executive officer of the Ameren Illinois Utilities.
"We also appreciate the assistance we have received from state and local emergency and government officials and their staffs, as well as the long hours and hard work under brutal weather conditions put in by our coworkers and those of outside contractors."
Meanwhile, the Ameren Illinois Utilities Emergency Operations Center staff is monitoring a new weather system that is forecasted to bring ice, sleet and snow to much of the utilities' service territory on Tuesday. The Ameren Illinois Utilities remain on alert, ready to immediately respond in the event of new weather related outages.
Customers are urged to be prepared for the possibility of severe weather conditions that could cause additional power outages.
The storm that began early Friday coated power lines and trees with up to three quarters of an inch of ice in a path that extended from Warsaw east through Macomb, Peoria, Bloomington, Lincoln, Paxton and Watseka. As many as 45,000 customers were out at one time.
The ice storm damage was compounded by winds of 20 to 30 mph with stronger gusts Saturday evening and Sunday, causing thousands of additional outages.
Nearly 1,500 Ameren Illinois Utilities personnel and contractor staff have worked 16-hour shifts to turn the lights back on. Their work was made more difficult by near zero temperatures and wind chills that reached minus-30 degrees.
Key storm restoration facts include: * At the height of the restoration effort, 1,480 field personnel were at work. This included linemen, tree trimmers, safety experts and other personnel. The field personnel were supported by a small army of staff. * Personnel were provided by all six Ameren Illinois Utilities divisions, AmerenUE in Missouri and outside contractors. * Support personnel provided field workers with a total of 13,241 meals and 1,497 motel rooms. * Equipment used in the service restoration effort consumed more than 43,000 gallons of fuel. * More than 30,000 commonly used repair items have been used. * Four of the six Ameren Illinois Utilities storm trailers were deployed during the restoration effort. The Storm Trailers are mobile storerooms, stocked with the material field crews need to get the lights back on. The trailers can be moved to central staging sites to provide essential materials to areas with the greatest damage. * Through Sunday, the four Ameren Illinois Utilities Customer Contact Centers have handled 98,342 calls as compared to a normal call volume of 31,000.
Customers are reminded that some of them may need the services of an electrical contractor to reattach or repair customer-owned facilities, such as the meter base, weatherhead or the point of attachment. Detailed information is available on the Ameren Web site (http://www.ameren.com).
At this time, about 2,700 customers are awaiting service restoration. The electric service restoration effort will continue into the nighttime hours and tomorrow until every customer has power restored. Any deterioration of weather conditions could slow the service restoration process.
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.
Current information on the restoration effort, please visit http://www.illinoisoutage.com
SOURCE: Ameren Illinois Utilities