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5 p.m.--230,000 Ameren Illinois Customers Affected by Severe Winter Storm; Restoration Efforts Underway
Nearly 230,000 Ameren Illinois customers across 44,000 square miles in Illinois are out of power today as Ameren officials assess the damage caused by a massive winter storm that hit the area Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. This ranks as the worst ice storm in Ameren companies' history.

Hardest hit areas are Central Illinois and Southern Illinois\-including the Metro East area. Tens of thousands of customers have been restored today, but with tree limbs falling on lines that are still weighted by the ice, many new outages are occurring.

More than 550 Ameren Illinois companies' employees and contractors are working to restore power to customers---approximately 900 crews from contractors and other utility companies will soon be in the area to help restore power. Calls went out requesting help from more 20 utilities located as far north as Canada and as far south as the Gulf of Mexico. Crews are coming from 14 states--- Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin. However, major highway shutdowns earlier in the day and treacherous road conditions have hampered crews' ability to reach affected areas.

Due to the severe weather conditions and extensive damage, lengthy outages are expected. Customers are urged to seek shelter, to unplug electrical equipment and turn off their furnaces. Customers should stay away from the many downed wires caused by the storm. Ameren Illinois companies cannot offer customers anticipated restoration times but will make those available as soon as possible.

The Ameren Illinois companies are working closely with city and state officials and emergency response personnel to coordinate restoration efforts and ensure customer safety.

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