HARRISBURG, Ill. – While about 430 field and support personnel continue their work to restore electric service, Ameren Illinois has opened a special Customer Service Center in Harrisburg to assist area residents.
Customers who do not have access to phone service or who simply want to discuss an issue in person are encouraged visit the Customer Service Center located in the Harris Pruett Building, 107 E. Church St., Harrisburg. The center will remain open until 6:00 p.m. Thursday.
“As we continue our work, our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and friends of the victims of Wednesday morning’s tornado. This is a difficult time for everyone in this area,” said Ron Pate, vice president of Operations for Ameren Illinois.
“At the same time, we appreciate the attention to safety the people of Southern Illinois have displayed since the storm passed. People have heeded the warnings to stay away from and report downed power lines.
“We thank our customers for their patience and support as we work to finish our service restoration work. I encourage Harrisburg area customers who have questions or concerns about their service restoration to visit our Customer Service Center,” Pate said.
At 8:30 p.m. today, about 2,100 customers in Southern Illinois are still without power. Early Wednesday, about 14,000 customers in Southern Illinois did not have 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.
Damage to the Ameren Illinois distribution system included more than 100 broken utility poles and downed wires. In many areas, fallen trees, limbs and debris delayed the ability of crews to reach and repair damaged electric distribution lines.
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.
When repairs are completed, a customer should call 1-800-755-5000 so Ameren Illinois can reconnect service.
“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,” Pate cautioned. “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,” Pate said.
Outage, safety and service 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.