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Ameren Illinois Utilities Mobilize Resources to Restore Power for About 43,000 Customers in Central Illinois

Residents Urged to Stay Away from Downed Electrical Lines

PEORIA, Ill., June 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The Ameren Illinois Utilities (AmerenCIPS, AmerenCILCO, AmerenIP) have activated their Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in response to early morning storms that left as many as about 43,000 Central Illinois customers without lights.

AIU personnel are now assessing the damage to both high voltage lines and the electrical distribution system that brings power to homes and businesses. At 9:30 a.m., approximately 36,400 customers were without service.

The Emergency Operations Center, which is directing the service restoration work, has deployed three Storm Trailers in Peoria County. The Storm Trailers are mobile storerooms, stocked with the material field crews need to get the lights back on. The trailers can be moved to central staging sites to provide essential materials in those areas with the greatest damage.

"Our first and foremost concern is the safety of our customers and coworkers," said Bill Prebil, Ameren Illinois Utilities (AIU) vice president of Regional Operations.

"As a result of 80-mile-per-hour and greater winds, we have broken poles and downed electrical lines in the areas hit by today's storms. It is imperative that people stay away from downed power lines and to always call us or '911' if you see downed lines. Stay away from brush, shrubs and fallen trees that may hide downed lines."

"When severe storms cause power outages, our first priority is to correct potentially life-threatening situations, such as downed power lines and to restore service to hospitals that are without power. We then implement power restoration plans focused on restoring power for the greatest number of customers in the shortest length of time," Prebil 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.


Ameren offers these tips for your safety and for coping with power outages:

Check on the elderly. If you know an elderly person in your neighborhood that is without power, check on that person's health.

Watch out for downed wires. If you see a fallen or sagging wire, assume that it is still energized and dangerous. Electric power lines can carry power even after being knocked to the ground. Stay away and warn others to do the same.

Pull some plugs. Turn off or disconnect the refrigerator, freezer, television, air conditioner and other major appliances that would go on automatically when the power is restored. This precaution will avoid overloading a circuit when power comes back on - and the chance of a second interruption. After power is restored, turn them on one at a time.

Flip a switch. Turn one or two light switches on so you will know when your service is restored.

There are also some steps you can take during and after a storm to ensure the safety of your family, home and pets.

Keep your food cold. Resist the urge to peek in on the refrigerator and freezer. Food will stay cold or frozen longer if the appliance stays closed.

  • Use caution with your food. Check with your local health department and remember the rule, "When in doubt, throw it out!" The University of Illinois Extension Service says these foods should be discarded after four hours without power:
    • Raw or cooked meat, poultry and seafood
    • Milk, cream, yogurt and soft cheeses
    • Cooked pasta and pasta salads
    • Custard, chiffon and cheese pies
    • Fresh eggs and egg substitutes
    • Meat-topped pizza and lunch meats
    • Casseroles, soups and stews
    • Mayonnaise and tartar sauce
    • Cookie dough

These foods should be safe for a few days without power:

  • Butter and margarine
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Opened jars of salad dressing, jelly, relish, taco sauce, barbecue sauce, mustard, ketchup and olives
  • Hard and processed cheeses

SOURCE: Ameren Illinois Utilities

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