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Central Illinois to Be Reenergized Tonight, While Ameren Illinois Utilities Stand Ready for More Severe Weather

Lights Back On for 36,000 in 27 Hours

PEORIA, Ill., June 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- While Ameren Illinois Utilities (AmerenCIPS, AmerenCILCO, AmerenIP) field crews are working to reenergize Central Illinois by tonight, the utilities remain on high alert as the threat of additional severe weather continues throughout the day and into the evening.

Since the damaging storms swept through Central Illinois yesterday morning, the Ameren Illinois Utilities (AIU) have restored service to more than 36,000 customers. At 10:00 a.m. today, about 7,300 customers are still without lights. Most of the remaining outages are in Knox, Peoria and Warren counties.

Though it is anticipated nearly all customers will have service restored by tonight, some isolated outages are expected to continue into tomorrow. If severe weather develops later today or overnight, new outages may result. Also, severe weather could hamper efforts to restore service to those who are now without lights. AIU personnel and contractor allies remain on alert, prepared to respond to any new weather-related service outages.

"We appreciate the patience and understanding of our customers as we work 16- to 18-hour days to get the lights back on for everyone," said Bill Prebil, Ameren Illinois Utilities (AIU) vice president of Regional Operations.

"For safety's sake, we urge customers to check on neighbors, relatives and friends who are still without power, especially the elderly and those with medical conditions. This is especially important with high temperatures expected to reach into the 90s."

AIU 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.

Residents also are reminded that safety must be the first priority when using portable generators. Never operate a portable generator indoors. Before using a portable generator, first open the main breaker or remove the main fuses before connecting the generator to your electrical system.

Current information on the electrical service restoration effort as well as safety advice and weather reports is available at IllinoisOutage.com.

To report downed wires or other problems, customers should call: 1-888-672-5252 (AmerenCILCO), 1-888-789-2477 (AmerenCIPS) and 1-800-755-7000 (AmerenIP).

Residents who 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. More information is available at 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/