Ameren Missouri employees are hard at work during the winter storm system hitting the Show-Me State. Mike Lewis, superintendent of reliability and support services for Ameren, says workers have been preparing for the ice and snow for the past few days.
“We’ve had a fair amount of experience at this lately,” he says. “So our preparation protocol is getting a lot of practice this year. We just had a very similar situation last Friday, I believe it was.”
Lewis says the electric company is ramping up staffing levels for this storm.
“This does not look like this event particularly is going to cause us a lot of problems,” says Lewis. “But there will be likely some scattered issues – up to a quarter of an inch of ice plus wind on top of that – will cause a few outages. They won’t be widespread. They probably won’t be all that numerous, but we want to be ready to respond with people and property when that happens. The weight of the conductors – once they get laden down with ice and then the weight of tree limbs on top of conductors – can be a real problem for us to be able to put those back in the air. So, I would say an overall ice event does add some time to the restoration process just because it slows travel and it makes it more difficult to get the lines back up.”
Lewis reminds Missourians to be careful.
“First and foremost is, do not approach a downed power line, especially one that’s covered with ice,” says Lewis. “That ice can actually work as an insulator and keep an energized line energized, even though it’s laying down on the ground.”
He says employees will be working in some rough conditions.
“Imagine trying to wear enough clothes to stay warm when the temperatures drop down to single digits or below zero and then doing all that physical work that has to be done to clear trees, set poles, string lines,” he says. “Plus the additional hazards of things falling from trees, tree limbs breaking off due to the weight of the ice.”
Ameren serves 1.2 million customers in 64 Missouri counties and spans the St. Louis metro area and parts of northeast, northwest, southeast and central Missouri.
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