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Ameren Illinois Utilities Work to Restore Power for about 8,600 Southern Illinois Customers

Hazardous Conditions Confront Utilities Crews

MARION, Ill., Jan. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- 9:00 a.m. -- Up to two inches of ice have left about 8,600 Ameren Illinois Utilities customers in Southern Illinois without power, while creating extremely hazardous working conditions that are slowing the service restoration work by Ameren Illinois Utilities field personnel.

Late Monday afternoon, the Ameren Illinois Utilities activated the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to direct the service restoration effort. A total of 371 field personnel have been assigned to the effort and the Ameren Illinois Utilities have placed a Storm Trailer in Anna. The Storm Trailer serves as a portable utility storeroom, providing a centralized source of materials for crews working to restore service.

Shortly after midnight today, the number of customers without service started to grow significantly as ice-coated limbs began to fall into power lines. The threat of additional outages will continue because of the heavy ice accumulations on trees and power lines coupled with the prospect of subfreezing temperatures until at least Saturday.

Utilities personnel are now assessing the damage to both high voltage subtransmission lines and the electrical distribution system that brings power to homes and businesses. Not until this process is completed will the Ameren Illinois Utilities be in a position to determine estimated restoration times.

"When severe storms cause power outages, our first priority is to correct potentially life-threatening situations, such as downed power lines or hospitals without power. We then implement power restoration plans focused on restoring power for the greatest number of customers in the shortest length of time," said Ron Pate, vice president of Regional Operations.

"Safety is our priority every day of the year, but it takes on added significance when severe weather strikes," Pate said. "The first safety rule is to stay away from downed power lines and always call us or '911' if you see downed lines. Never go outside in the dark because you won't be able to see a downed power line that could still be energized and dangerous. Stay away from brush, shrubs and downed trees that may hide downed lines."

To report downed power lines or other problems, customers should call the Ameren Illinois Utilities: 1-888-672-5252 (AmerenCILCO), 1-888-789-2477 (AmerenCIPS) and 1-800-755-7000 (AmerenIP).

Customer Safety Advice

In order to stay warm and prevent hypothermia, residents are urged to follow these tips:

  • Dress in warm, layered clothing.
  • Check on neighbors, especially the elderly and those with medical conditions to make certain they are safe and warm.
  • Remain indoors as much as possible.
  • Place towels or rags along the bottom of doors to keep the cold out. Do the same for drafty windows.
  • Keep drapes and shades closed at night. During a sunny day, open shades and drapes on the sunny side of the home to take advantage of solar heating.
  • Eat to provide your body with the energy needed help stay warm. Drink plenty of liquids to avoid dehydration.
  • Remain active, but avoid strenuous activities that cause perspiration.
  • Consider staying with friends or relatives or going to a warming center if you cannot keep your home reasonably warm. Remember, infants and the elderly are more susceptible to the cold than the rest of us.
  • Customers planning to use a portable generator must first open the main breaker or remove the main fuses before connecting the generator to the electrical systems. Failure to do this could seriously injure utility crews working on outside power lines, and/or it could cause damage to a neighbor's property or the customer's own equipment. Customers should never use a portable generator indoors, including in a home, garage, basement, shed or partially-enclosed area - even with ventilation because of the threat of deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.

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.

Editor's Note:

For current information on the restoration effort, please visit www.illinoisoutage.com

SOURCE: Ameren Illinois Utilities

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