Harrisburg, Ill. (Feb. 29, 2012) – Severe weather and a deadly tornado that claimed six lives caused extensive damage in Harrisburg and other areas in Southern Illinois while leaving about 14,000 Ameren Illinois customers without service early this morning.
To restore electric service, Ameren Illinois activated its Emergency Operations Center and deployed more than 430 personnel in Southern Illinois, including 255 linemen. In addition to Ameren Illinois co-workers, personnel from Ameren Missouri and allied contractors are assisting in the service restoration effort.
At 5:30 p.m. today, about 2,800 customers in Southern Illinois are still without power. Due to the extensive infrastructure damage caused by the tornado, Ameren Illinois estimates that all customers will have service restored by the end of the day on Friday.
To assist customers in and around hard-hit Harrisburg, Ameren Illinois will operate a Customer Service Center at the Harris Pruett Building, 107 E. Church St., Harrisburg, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Thursday.
Some customers may need to make repairs to the electric service facilities they own, such as the meter base, weatherhead or point of attachment. This work should be performed by a professional electrical contractor. If necessary, these repairs must be completed before service can be safely restored. A detailed explanation of this work is available at IllinoisOutage.com or customers may call 1-800-755-5000 for assistance. Customers also may visit the special Ameren Illinois Customer Service Center in Harrisburg on Thursday for assistance.
Ameren Illinois issued a safety warning to all residents in the impacted areas to be on alert for downed electrical wires. Residents are warned to stay away from downed wires. Furthermore, people should 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 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 or anyone else who may come in contact with wires. It also could cause damage to a neighbor's property or the customer's own equipment. Customers should 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 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 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.