52,000 Residents Still without Power from Winter Storms in Ill., Mo.

December 8, 2006

High winds overnight and into Thursday increased the number of Ameren Corp. electric utility customers without power in Missouri and Illinois to more than 52,000, the majority of those in Illinois, Ameren spokeswoman Susan Gallagher said.

Crews likely would be working into Friday and perhaps Saturday to restore power, she said.

The storm plowed through the Midwest late last week, dropping snow and coating the region with ice before carrying the wind and thunderstorms into the Northeast. At least 18 deaths have been blamed on the storm in Illinois and Missouri.

The Illinois Commerce Commission announced Wednesday that it had asked staff to develop recommendations for an investigation into Ameren’s preparedness and response to the storm. The plan is to be reviewed at the next public meetings of the state’s utility regulator, scheduled for Dec. 19-20.

“Without prejudging the company’s response, we think it’s fair to examine the situation and ask the hard questions for the public we serve,” commissioner Kevin Wright said in an agency release.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich has declared 49 Illinois counties state disaster areas, helping the Illinois Emergency Management Agency coordinate resources to support local communities with storm recovery efforts.

In Missouri, Gov. Matt Blunt is hopeful of getting a presidential declaration of disaster based on damage reported in all 114 counties, said Blunt spokesman Brian Hauswirth. That would free up funds for reimbursement.

Calls by Insurance Journal to State Farm to determine the number of Insurance Claims related to the storms in the two states were not returned.

Illinois Insurance Department spokesperson, Susan Hofer said it was too early to have claims numbers and suggested consumers go to the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to access tips on how to file a claim and protect your property.

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