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More than 2,100 Field, Support Personnel Work into the Night to Turn the Lights On for Ameren Illinois Utilities Customers

Gov. Pat Quinn Thanks Ameren Workforce

MARION, Ill., May 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The lights are back on for nearly 44,000 Southern Illinois customers as the Ameren Illinois Utilities (AIU) workforce of more than 2,100 field and support personnel are working into the night to get the electricity flowing to as many customers as possible.

Gov. Pat Quinn joined Ameren Illinois Utilities President and CEO Scott Cisel this afternoon to inspect the storm damage, view storm restoration work and talk with residents.

"As Gov. Quinn said, Illinois is a big family that comes together in times of crisis. We are certainly seeing that spirit at work here in Southern Illinois," Cisel said. "The governor really bolstered spirits when he expressed his appreciation to our coworkers and all of the others who are at work to help Southern Illinois recover.

"The loss of power has disrupted the daily lives of our friends and neighbors in Southern Illinois. On behalf of all my coworkers and our outside allies, I want to thank our customers for their patience and the support they are giving us as we continue to work around the clock to turn the lights back on," Cisel said.

Up-to-date information on the electrical service restoration effort as well as safety advice and weather reports is available at IllinoisOutage.com. Also, the Web site features photos and videos of the storm damage and service restoration effort.

Several hundred residents today visited AIU's temporary AIU Customer Outreach Service Centers. Many customers are coming in for advice on making repairs or to report damage. The centers are located at: Murphysboro Fire Station, 219 N. 10th St., Southwest entrance Illinois Centre Mall, Marion; Carbondale City Hall, 200 S. Illinois Ave.; Herrin City Hall, 300 N. Park Ave., and Community Food Pantry, 121 W. Illinois Ave., Carterville. Customers also may call AIU at these numbers: 1-888-789-2477 (AmerenCIPS), 1-800-755-7000 (AmerenIP) and 1-888-672-5252 (AmerenCILCO).

According to the American Red Cross, storm shelters have been established at the Senior Center, 507 W. Main St., Marion; Herrin High School, 700 N. Tenth St., Herrin; Community Building, 406 S. Poplar St., Bush; and Our Saviors Lutheran, 700 S. University, Carbondale. For additional information, contact the Red Cross office at 665 N. Airport Rd., Murphysboro, at 1-618-988-1147.

At 5:30 p.m. today, the Ameren Illinois Utilities reported that about 25,000 customers in Jackson and Williamson counties are still without power. The utilities are hopeful the majority of those customers will have their lights on by early Wednesday, but stressed that some outages will persist into Thursday and possibly Friday as crews work to repair the facilities most severely damaged by the inland hurricane.

In addition to the workforce that includes more than 1,000 linemen, the utilities dedicated more than 1,200 pieces of equipment to the service restoration effort, including line trucks, bucket trucks, bulldozers, backhoes and dump trucks. In addition, workers already have used about 50 miles of wire and more than 800 utility poles as they replaced damaged equipment.

AIU is reminding customers that it may be necessary to temporarily turn the power off to some customers during the service restoration process. This is done so crews can safely complete necessary repair work. Power will be restored as soon as the work is safely completed.

Meanwhile, AIU is reaching out to those who may need to repair customer-owned facilities, such as the meter base, weatherhead or point of attachment, should have this work performed by a professional electrical contractor. These repairs must be completed before service can be safely restored. A detailed explanation of this work is available at IllinoisOutage.com.

AIU also has contacted the leaders of communities throughout the area hit by the inland hurricane. AIU is making certain these leaders know what is being done to get the power flowing and to make certain they receive the information they need to serve their constituents.

The AIU Emergency Operations Center also is carefully monitoring weather conditions throughout AIU's Illinois service territory. Of special concern is the threat of severe thunderstorms tomorrow afternoon and evening. AIU is taking the necessary steps to meet the challenges additional severe weather may cause.

To facilitate the restoration effort, the Ameren Illinois Utilities are now using an automated calling system to contact customers in impacted areas. The system allows customers to indicate if their service has been restored or is still out. This information is then put into the AIU outage reporting system so service can be safely restored. In addition, customers can call AIU to report outages or downed wires: 1-888-789-2477 (AmerenCIPS), 1-800-755-7000 (AmerenIP) and 1-888-672-5252 (AmerenCILCO).

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/