Peoria, Ill., (Feb. 2, 2011 – 6:30 p.m.) – About 1,600 Ameren Illinois personnel and their electrical contracting allies working in blizzard-like conditions have restored service to about 35,000 customer who lost power when the massive winter storm struck yesterday afternoon.
The Ameren Illinois Emergency Operations Center (EOC) continues to direct the effort to restore service to about 6,000 customers. It is anticipated that nearly all of these customers will have power by late Thursday, though harsh weather conditions could slow the recovery or cause new outages.
· The leading cause of outages was galloping conductors. This phenomenon occurs when strong winds blow across ice-covered power lines. This can cause power lines to bounce violently. This causes lines to strike each other, resulting in outages. The galloping lines also can break crossarms and poles, sending wires to the ground, causing outages.
· Since many distribution, subtransmission and transmission lines are still coated in ice, the return of strong winds could result in galloping conductors and new outages.
· High winds also caused damage to distribution components at some locations, including broken utility poles.
· The public needs to be watchful for downed power lines. If you see a downed line, report it by calling Ameren Illinois Customer Service 1-800-755-5000. Call this number to report outages and other service issues.
· Extremely cold temperatures, ice and snow covered roads and high winds have made the service restoration effort exceptionally treacherous.
· Additional safety and service information is available at the Ameren Illinois Emergency Operations Center Web site (IllinoisOutage.com). This website 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 delivers 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.