AmerenUE says it has completed restoration of power to its 44,000 households left without electricity from Sunday’s storm. A top executive of the St. Louis-based utility says Ameren will undergo a thorough review of its response in the next couple of months.
Ameren Energy Division Vice President, Ron Zdellar, says he learns a little during every response to a storm, adding that he’s learned a little more than he cares to learn the last two years. Ameren experienced widespread outages in 2006, both during a summer storm and an ice storm that held the St. Louis area in its grip for more than a week.
Zdellar says he hasn’t put a price tag on response to this week’s storm. The ice storm early Sunday morning knocked out power from the Lake of the Ozarks to Jefferson City, from O’Fallon to Bowling Green. Ameren wrapped up restoration work Thursday afternoon.
Other regions in the state still struggle without electricity. Aquila says it has under 32,000 customers without electricity in northwest Missouri, mainly in St. Joseph. The rural electric cooperatives report 11,000 of their customers remain without power. Empire Electric says 20,000 customers, primarily in the Joplin area, don’t have power.
All the utilities called in extra crews, both contractors and crews from other utilities. Zdellar says the cost of storm recovery keeps rising. Ameren spent an average of $4 million a year on storm restoration between 2000 and 2002. That jumped to $12 million a year between 2003 and 2005; then hit the $100 million dollar mark last year.