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Ameren Illinois Utilities Assign 600 Personnel to Complete Service Restoration Work in Hard Hit Southern Illinois

Lights Back On for 7,300 Customers

MARION, Ill., Jan. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- About 600 Ameren Illinois Utilities field personnel are working today to turn the lights back on for the 4,600 Southern Illinois customers who lost their service as a result of the ice storm.

The Ameren Illinois Utilities Emergency Operations Center (EOC) now estimates that three-fourths of those customers will have their lights on by this evening. It is expected that nearly all of the remaining customers will have service by the end of tomorrow, though a few isolated outages may persist due to damage to individual service lines to homes and customers who need to make repairs at their homes. The threat of new outages remains because of the heavy ice accumulations on trees and power lines.

At the height of the storm, 11,900 customers were without service. This has been reduced to 4,600 customers this morning.

Outages occurred when ice coated trees and tree limbs fell into power lines, resulting in downed power lines and a number of broken poles. The effort to turn the lights back on is being hampered by ice-coated roads, downed trees that have blocked roadways and road closures caused by ice and accidents.

The Emergency Operations Center staff successfully dealt with another challenge when fuel shortages threatened to stall the restoration effort. Service stations in some areas ran out of fuel because tanker trucks could not reach them due to impassable roads. EOC staff made arrangements for three tanker trucks to go to the Ameren Illinois Utilities staging area in Anna to provide fuel for their vehicles and equipment.

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.

The Ameren Illinois Utilities note that some customers may need the services of an electrical contractor to reattach or repair customer-owned facilities, such as the meter base, weatherhead or point of attachment. See www.ameren.com for a diagram showing this arrangement.

For safety sake, residents are urged to stay away from downed power lines and to avoid 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) or "911."

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.ameren.com/