Ameren Illinois has assigned more than 150 field and support personnel to restore electricity service to about 5,100 customers in the Kewanee and La Salle areas.
Late Friday afternoon, severe storms with high winds caused extensive damage to the Ameren Illinois electricity distribution system – including downed poles and wires – in portions of Henry, Bureau and La Salle counties.
In response to this significant challenge, Ameren Illinois activated the Emergency Operations Center to direct the service restoration effort.
Ameren Illinois estimates that most Kewanee area customers will have their electricity service restored by 4:00 p.m. noon today. In the La Salle area, most customers are expected to have their service restored by 8:00 p.m., with the remainder restored by 12:00 a.m. midnight.
However, any additional storms today could slow the service restoration effort or cause new service outages. Heavy early morning rain today was making service restoration work more difficult and dangerous.
Ameren Illinois officials issued a safety warning to all residents in the impacted areas to be on alert for downed electrical wires. Residents should stay away from downed wires. Furthermore, stay away from brush, downed trees and limbs and any debris that may conceal downed power lines.
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. Call Ameren Illinois (AmerenCIPS – 1-888-789-2477, AmerenCILCO – 1-888-672-5252, AmerenIP – 1-800-755-5000) to report downed wires.
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 cause damage to a neighbor's property or the customer's own equipment. Customers must 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.
Outage information is available at www.IllinoisOutage.com. Users can find outages listed by zip code and by county. The website also includes safety and weather information.
Those using mobile devices are invited to visit www.Ameren.Mobi for outage information. This site is specially designed for mobile devices.
Ameren Illinois (AmerenCIPS, AmerenCILCO, AmerenIP) has been providing safe, reliable energy delivery service for more than a century. Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and 813,000 natural gas customers in more than 1,200 communities within a 43,700-square-mile service territory throughout Downstate Illinois.
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Ameren Illinois 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.
Drink water. It is especially important to drink plenty of water during hot summer weather. Make certain pets have ample water.
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:
These foods should be safe for a few days without power: