Two weeks before the big winter storm hit, the PSC staff finished its report of Ameren-UE’s response to the high winds and heavy rains that hit eastern Missouri in July. The report recommended more aggressive tree-trimming and recommended new regulations on maintenance, inspection, and reliability. Hundreds of thousands of customers were without power–and air conditioning–for days. But the commission’s own director of utility operations, Warren Wood, says the summer storm, the damages, and the outages are not particularly unusual. Wood says a look through the records shows big storms and widespread, lengthy power outages hit Kansas city and western Missouri several times in the seventies, eighties, and nineties. Ameren U-E is still putting together the pieces after this month’s snow and ice storms caused more massive power outages and intense criticism. It has a date next month to give the PSC some ideas about how to avoid major outages from major storms in the future. Company officials they have made a lot of suggestions since summer and they’re not sure how much more they have to offer next month.
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