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Ameren Illinois Prepares for Severe Winter Weather, Offers Tips to Help Customers Stay Safe

With severe weather advisories that include the possibility of heavy snow, significant ice accumulations and hazardous traveling conditions in central and southern Illinois, Ameren Illinois has activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) while reminding customers that personal safety and storm preparedness must be taken seriously.
“Safety is our first and foremost concern when severe weather strikes,” said Ron Pate, vice president of Operations for Ameren Illinois.

“The most important safety rule is to stay clear of downed power lines and always call Ameren Illinois at 1-800-755-5000 or ‘911’ if you see downed lines. Assume all downed power lines are energized. Stay inside, especially at night because you may walk into an energized power line. Stay clear of brush, shrubs and downed trees that may hide downed lines,” Pate said.

Ameren Illinois has placed its personnel and associated electric utility contractors on alert in preparation for severe winter weather and the possibility of storm related outages.

“In the event of power outages, we will first assess the damage and deploy the personnel and supplies necessary to begin the job of service restoration. Our first priority will be to correct potentially life-threatening situations, such as downed power lines and to restore service to hospitals and other critical facilities that are without power. We then implement power restoration plans focused on restoring power for the greatest number of customers in the shortest length of time,” Pate said.

In addition, Pate said Ameren Illinois encourages customers use the following tips on preparing for severe weather:

• If any member of your family has a medical condition, plan and make arrangements to have that person’s special needs met in the event electricity is not available for an extended period of time during a storm.

• Make certain your cell phone is fully charged in advance of a storm.

• If your lights go out, check first with a neighbor to see if you are the only one without lights and if so, check your panel box for a tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse. If any breakers are in the "off" position or if a fuse is blown, you should investigate the problem and then reset the breaker or replace the fuse. If your lights are still off, or if others in your neighborhood are without lights, call Ameren Illinois at any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week – and always call as soon as possible to report a downed line or natural gas odor! The one number for all Ameren Illinois customers is 1-800-755-5000. .

Additional safety and service information is available at the Ameren Illinois Emergency Operations Center Web site (IllinoisOutage.com). This Web site features valuable safety information, radar weather, outage information, important phone numbers and much more. Those with mobile devices such as an iPhone or BlackBerry can access information at www.Ameren.Mobi.

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

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Contacts: Leigh Morris, 1-217-535-5228, lmorris@ameren.com; Victoria Busch, 1-618-346-1286, vbusch@ameren.com; Neal Johnson, 1-309-677-5284, njohnson@ameren.com