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Ameren Illinois Utilities Help You Spring Into Action by Putting Safety First

Call JULIE, Then Dig It

PEORIA, Ill., April 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Planting trees and shrubs to celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day is a great idea, but before you plant, the Ameren Illinois Utilities (AmerenCIPS, AmerenCILCO, AmerenIP) remind you that April is Safe Digging Month.

Homeowners, landscapers, builders, excavators and others not only dig holes to plant saplings, but dig into the ground for fence posts, foundations, sprinkler systems and new decks. All these are great ideas, but don't forget to call JULIE at "811" at least two business days before you dig.

"It's imperative that Illinois citizens follow the state law that requires all underground utility lines to be marked prior to breaking ground -- both throughout the month of April and year-round," said Kevin Chmura, director of public relations for JULIE, Inc. "This is a free call and service."

When you call JULIE, the Illinois One-Call System, utilities will be notified so they can mark the location of their underground lines in the area where you plan to dig. In addition to electrical and natural gas lines, water, sewer and telecommunication lines also are marked.

Call "811" before you dig to prevent serious injury or death, avoid electrical, natural gas and other utility service interruptions as well as the high cost of repairing damage to underground lines.

If you intend to plant trees or shrubs, the Ameren Illinois Utilities invite you to visit the MySafeTrees.com Web site for the information you will need. The Web site identifies trees to plant and those to avoid. You will learn about planting the right tree in the right place and the importance of avoiding power lines, utility poles and electrical equipment.

Also, the site explains why and how the Ameren Illinois Utilities trim trees. Our vegetation management personnel are certified arborists who are responsible for vegetation management along approximately 43,300 miles of electrical distribution and transmission lines. We are recognized as a "Tree Line USA" utility by the National Arbor Day Foundation.

Other important safety steps to remember:

  • Look up when you are outdoors. Know the location of all overhead utility lines and keep ladders and pole pruners away from these lines. When climbing a tree, make certain it is not near overhead power lines.
  • Never use kites that have metal, wire or tinsel components. Do not fly kites in the vicinity of overhead electrical wires or when there is a threat of thunderstorms.
  • Improve safety is by using ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) for all outdoor outlets. While you are at it, GFCIs also belong in the bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, garage and other locations where electrical devices could come into contact with water. A GFCI is designed to turn the power off before a deadly electrical shock can occur. If you do not yet have GFCIs, contact an electrician to discuss GFCIs and arrange for installation. If all older homes had GFCIs, it is estimated that 70 percent of residential electrocutions would be prevented each year.

The Ameren Illinois Utilities (AmerenCIPS, AmerenCILCO, AmerenIP) have been providing safe, reliable energy delivery service for more than a century. The Ameren Illinois Utilities deliver energy to 1.2 million electric and 840,000 natural gas customers in more than 1,200 communities within a 43,700-square-mile service territory, while helping you spend less by using less through our ActOnEnergy.com initiative.

SOURCE: Ameren Illinois Utilities

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