STORM UPDATE: 10:00 A.M.
AmerenUE has restored power to major feeder lines leading into some Southeast Missouri towns, but because of the severity of the damage and the amount of ice, customers could be out of power for an extended period---a week or longer.
Customers should make the appropriate arrangements to protect their health, pets, homes and businesses. 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.
UE added 800 more people to its restoration staffs in Southeast Missouri, bringing to 2,300 the total linemen, field checkers, tree trimmers, supervisory and support staffers working now to restore electricity to customers hard-hit by severe ice storms. The company is bringing in 800 more workers due to arrive tomorrow.
Hundreds of line workers from multiple Midwestern, Southern and Southwestern utilities were called in to support restoration. UE has two helicopters patrolling main lines to survey the damage from the air.
More than 35,000 customers are still out of power in the area where ice coating is as thick as a man’s wrist in some areas. More than 800 poles and hundreds of wires have been downed by the ice storms that hit the area beginning on Monday, increasing in intensity on Tuesday.
Early on Monday (Jan. 26), UE began moving materials and crews into the area and making logistical arrangements to accommodate them. The company yesterday brought in more storm trailers, bringing the total in the area to six, along with two mobile command centers now in the area. The 55-foot trailers in Cape Girardeau, Charleston, Dexter and Hayti 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.
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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 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