Ameren Illinois has activated its Emergency Operations Center in the wake of storms packing high winds that left about 19,000 customers without electrical service early this morning.
Despite the continued strong winds and hazardous working conditions, Ameren Illinois field personnel and support staff are making good progress in restoring service. About 12,000 customers were without service at 10:00 a.m. It is estimated the vast majority of customers will have service restored by late afternoon or early evening.
The counties with the highest number of service outages caused by the storm are Champaign, Marion, McLean, Saint Clair, Tazewell, Vermilion and Woodford. A total of 36 utility poles were broken: 13 near Forrest, 13 near Mahomet, nine in Paxton and one in Champaign.
Continued severe weather conditions are in the forecast for the remainder of the day. Sustained winds of 30 to 45 mph are predicted along with the possibility of strong thunderstorms. These weather conditions could slow service restoration efforts and cause new outages.
Residents should be on the alert for downed electrical wires and stay away from any 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 may remain energized even after being knocked to the ground. Stay away and warn others to do the same. Call Ameren Illinois at 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 has been providing energy delivery service for more than a century. We deliver energy to 1.2 million electric and 813,000 natural gas customers in Downstate Illinois, and our mission is to meet their energy needs in a safe, reliable, efficient and environmentally responsible manner. Our service area covers more than 1,200 communities and 43,700 square miles. For more information, visit AmerenIllinois.com.
Contacts: Leigh Morris, 1-217-535-5228, firstname.lastname@example.org; Victoria Busch, 1-618-614-3032, email@example.com; Neal Johnson, 1-309-677-5284, firstname.lastname@example.org