STORM UPDATE: 10:00 A.M.
AmerenUE has more than tripled its restoration staffs in the past 24 hours, with a total of 1,400 linemen, field checkers, tree trimmers, supervisory and support staffers now in Southeast Missouri working to restore electricity to approximately 35,000 customers. Hundreds of wires and poles have been downed by inch-thick ice in the area. Whole towns have lost electricity due to the severe storms that hit the area beginning on Monday and increasing in intensity on Tuesday.
Several hundred linemen from multiple Midwestern and Southern utilities were called in to support restoration. Mobile trailers have been dispatched for lodging UE crews, and vendors from as far away as the Gulf Coast are supplying meals since local hotels, motels and restaurants are without power.
Because of the severity of the damage and the amount of ice, customers could be out of power for five days or longer and should make the appropriate arrangements to protect their health, pets, homes and businesses.
Early on Monday (Jan. 26), UE began moving materials and crews into the area and making logistical arrangements to accommodate them. The company now has four of its six storm trailers and a mobile command center in the area—in Cape Girardeau, Charleston, Dexter and Hayti. 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’s customer contact center is offering addresses of warming center locations in the area for those without power. Those customers should call 1-800-552-7583.
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UE reminds customers that safety is the first and foremost concern.
The most important safety rule is to stay clear of downed power lines and always call UE at 1-800-552-7583 or 911 if you see downed lines. Assume all downed power lines are energized. Stay inside, especially at night because you may walk into an energized power line. Stay clear of brush, shrubs and downed trees that may hide downed lines.
While every effort is being made to restore power as quickly as possible, customers with special needs—including those with medical conditions, seniors, handicapped and others who are dependent on electric service—may wish to consider making alternative arrangements if outages in their areas persist.
We also urge our customers to look in on neighbors, especially seniors and those with medical conditions. Checking on these people during outages will help keep them safe and comfortable.
Additional storm safety information is available on the Storm Center on Ameren’s Web site – the first choice on the left navigation bar (www.ameren.com).
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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CONTACT: Susan Gallagher, 314.554.2175, or Mike Cleary, 573.681.7137, both of AmerenUE