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Ameren Illinois Utilities Work to Restore Power for About 52,000 Southern Illinois Customers

Downed Electrical Wires, Debris Create Hazardous Conditions

MARION, Ill., May 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Severe storms have left about 52,000 Southern Illinois Ameren Illinois Utilities customers without electrical service, while downed electrical wires and debris have created hazardous conditions.

"Today's severe weather has created serious safety hazards," said Ron Pate, Ameren Illinois Utilities (AIU) vice president of Regional Operations. "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."

The Ameren Illinois Utilities have activated their Emergency Operations Center, which is directing the service restoration work. AIU personnel are now assessing the damage to both high voltage lines and the electrical distribution system that brings power to homes and businesses. When this process is completed the Ameren Illinois Utilities will be able 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," Pate said.

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).

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.

For updated information on the electrical service restoration effort, please visit IllinoisOutage.com.

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.

SOURCE: Ameren Illinois Utilities

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