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Ameren Illinois Utilities Responding to New Round of Severe Weather

More than 36,000 Customers without Lights

PEORIA, Ill., June 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Ameren Illinois Utilities (AmerenCIPS, AmerenCILCO, AmerenIP) personnel are responding to a new round of storms that began moving across Illinois late this afternoon, leaving more than 36,000 customers in the dark at 8:00 p.m.

Before this afternoon's storms hit, AIU personnel had reduced the number of outages from Friday morning's storm to less than 7,000 customers from a peak of 43,500.

As nightfall approached, Ameren Illinois Utilities (AIU) field personnel were assessing the damage, which includes numerous broken utility poles and downed wires. In addition, tree limbs have fallen into power lines, causing additional outages.

The AIU Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is directing the storm restoration efforts, which include repairing damage caused by Thursday morning's storm. The hardest hit counties include Adams, Champaign, Douglas, Fulton, Henderson, Macon, McDonough, Peoria, Shelby and Vermilion

AIU urges all residents to exercise extreme caution.

"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.

"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," 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).

"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 on Saturday, Prebil said."

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.

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:

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

SOURCE: Ameren Illinois Utilities

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