Your air conditioner, water heater, washer and dryer and even your alarm clock tends to only work if you have power.
And when it goes out you're left wondering, "What do I do now?" You're also left wondering what's taking so long?
Heavy wind is sometimes all it takes. "Recently we've had more power outages than normal," said Georgia Vinson. But light's out isn't a huge inconvenience. "We miss it. Because you get so used to it. But we're fortunate we have gas," explained Vinson.
But many of the other 1.2 million customers are not as fortunate. Ameren's Senior Director of Division Operations John Barud says severe weather is the most important reason why Ameren linemen train, retrain and drill. "We have a very sophisticated well defined emergency response plan that covers all the roles and responsibilities and everything we would do in the event of a storm," Barud said.
Ameren is in contact with effected communities. The initial focus is downed wires. "We have a process to where people stand by those down wires so police and fire don't have to go out," Barud Says. Information from residents, technology and available material make a difference in response time. Which Barud knows can determine their customers' level of frustration.
"We are ready and we understand how dependent folks are on electricity or what not. We are absolutely committed to make sure get our customers on as quickly and safely as we can," said Barud.
In neighborhoods, similar to one in Vienna, the effort has not gone unnoticed. Vinson says lights may go out more frequently but for a shorter period. "Most of the time it's less than a couple of hours," Vinson said.
If you have a generator at your home make sure you tell your power provider. It's recommended you get a qualified electrician to connect yours before you use it.
It's also suggested homes are equipped with an emergency kit. Make sure the entire family can locate the emergency kit. It should include flashlights, fresh batteries, a battery powered radio, bottled water, first-aid kit and medications. Also, don't forget to take care of your pets.
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