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AmerenUE Is Prepared for Severe Winter Weather, Offers Tips to Help Customers when Storms Occur

AmerenUE is prepared for severe winter conditions forecast for tonight particularly in areas of south and southwestern Missouri.

The area weather forecast includes the possibility of freezing rain, snow and sleet south and southwest of Metropolitan St. Louis. For UE’s 112,408 Southeast Missouri customers, that may mean an accumulation of ice.

UE has moved materials and crews into the area and is making logistical arrangements to accommodate those crews. In addition, one of the company’s six storm trailers is permanently based in Cape Girardeau and two additional trailers and a mobile command center have been dispatched to the area. The 55-foot storm trailers are stocked with about $100,000 worth of materials commonly needed to repair equipment damaged by storms. When a severe storm strikes, these trailers are dispatched to a central location close to the damage so crews can quickly obtain essential materials.

UE urges customers to ready themselves for the possibility of storm-related power outages throughout the winter.

Senior Vice President for UE Energy Delivery Richard Mark reminds everyone to stay away from downed power lines and always call UE at 1-800-552-7583 if downed lines are spotted. He warns that during icy weather conditions, going outside in the dark means that a person could come into contact with a downed power line that could still be energized and dangerous but not visible. In addition, he urges everyone to stay away from brush, shrubs and downed trees that may hide downed lines.

When severe storms cause power outages, UE’s first priority is to correct potentially life-threatening situations, such as downed power lines or hospitals without power. The company then implements power restoration plans focused on restoring power for the greatest number of customers in the shortest length of time.

When there is a threat of severe weather, UE’s key steps include:

• Constantly monitoring weather conditions, watching for any changes that may affect service.

• Placing key UE staff on alert.

• Determining if and where to stage field personnel in preparation for storm restoration work. Decisions on staging are based on evolving weather conditions.

• Dispatching storm trailers and activating UE’s Emergency Operations Center.

Customer Safety Tips

The measures customers should take to prepare for a power outage or loss of natural gas service are similar to those needed to prepare for any emergency situation.

• Because most major outages are caused by severe weather, begin by developing shelter plans for severe storm conditions.

• If any member of your family has a medical condition, plan and make arrangements to have that person's special needs met in the event electricity is not available for an extended period of time during a storm.

• Assemble a "storm kit" and store it in a secure, centrally located part of your house. Make sure all family members know where to find that kit. It should contain:

• Emergency telephone numbers; flashlights and fresh batteries (avoid using candles, lanterns or oil lamps due to the fire risk); extra garage and house keys; a battery-powered radio; a battery-powered or wind-up alarm clock; a supply of bottled water (one gallon per person per day); non-perishable foods that don't require heating; blankets, bedding or sleeping bags; a first-aid kit and medications; a hand-operated can opener; special items for infants or family members with special needs; hand tools, such as a screwdriver, scissors and duct tape; household items like plastic utensils, paper plates, waterproof matches and household bleach; identification and copies of important family documents.

• If your electric service is interrupted, be sure to unplug or protect sensitive computer and electronic equipment with a high-quality surge protector.

• When severe weather is predicted, make certain your cell phone is fully charged. Also, remember that cordless land line telephones will not function in the event of a power outage.

• If your power goes out, contact a neighbor to see if you are the only one without power. If you are the only one without service, check your panel box for a tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse. If any breakers are in the "off" position or if a fuse is blown, you should investigate the problem. If you are still without power, or if others in your neighborhood are experiencing a power outage, call your UE at any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week -- and always call as soon as possible to report a downed line or natural gas odor!

Customers can access information about electricity service outages on the Ameren Web site (www.ameren.com).

• Go to the "Storm Center" in the left-hand menu and select "Outage Information." Then select "Missouri Outage Information." By selecting the "Outage Map," you can immediately see the areas that are affected by outages and the number of customers without power in the affected areas. Outages are listed by zip code.

• Select "County Outages" to view the number of outages in each county.

• Select "My Electric Outage" to learn more about the outage affecting you. You can plug in your phone number and if it is on file, you will find out your outage status. With this service, you often can determine the outage cause and estimated restoration time.

• "Power Out? Call Us" provides complete contact information in the event of an outage. Review and print out this information before a storm occurs. "Storms and Emergencies" provides valuable customer information in dealing with severe storms. "Outage Restoration Trend" shows a graph to help customers understand the progress being made to restore power. "Emergency Preparedness" provides a link to Ready America. Here customers will learn how to assemble a storm emergency kit, how to create an emergency plan and how to stay informed.

With residential electric retail rates that are more than 40 percent below the national average, UE provides electricity and natural gas to 1.2 million customers in Missouri. UE’s parent, Ameren Corporation, through its affiliates, serves 2.4 million electric and nearly 1 million natural gas customers across 64,000 square miles of Missouri and Illinois.
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