Ameren ready for more nasty weather

By Gary Scott on April 27, 2016 at 7:48am

Ameren Illinois officials say they’re ready for any more stormy weather that may come our way today.

A line of nasty storms rolled through Jacksonville yesterday afternoon. While it didn’t meet the criteria to prompt a severe weather warning, there was a reported incident of a electricity pole catching fire in South Jacksonville. No significant power outages were reported locally, although there were some in the Decatur area.

Senior Director of Division Operations for Ameren Illinois, Craig Gilson, tells WLDS-WEAI News the utility went under “yellow alert” yesterday and will remain there for today.

“Our central emergency operations center, we’ll track the weather, track it 24-7. It usually gives a three-day forecast. When they send that yellow alert out, division directors will pull our teams together, they’ll review our roles and responsibilities, we’ll make sure trucks are gassed up, we’ve got materials stocked in a store room, so if a storm does roll in, we’re prepared to address the storms,” he says.

Gilson says Ameren has worked to reduce the duration of outages and improve reliability.

“In the past, if a storm rolled through, you might take down one or two poles, and it’s kind of like a domino effect. After so many poles go down, it just kind of dominoes and keeps taking additional poles down. So, we’ve done what we call storm hardening,” he explains. We put fiberglass poles about every fifth pole in areas where we’ve had that problem in the past. So, if we do have storms roll through that exceed our design criteria, it might take down three ou four poles, [instead of] taking down 20 poles,” Gilson continues.

Gilson reminds residents to report outages at 1-800-755-5000, and if you see a downed wire, assume it’s live.