The heat is on in St. Louis for the next several days and Ameren has teamed with local technicians to help you save money on your air conditioning.
With temperatures into the high 90's for the next several days, Ameren Missouri wants its customers to know you can get money back from everything from a tune up on your air conditioner to upgrading to an energy efficient unit. Cara Dolly says the utility has teamed with some 300 area contractors with rebates up to $720 on a new unit.
Local leaders have put out the call to those in need and to those who can help. Cool Down St. Louis and Ameren kicked off their annual summer program to keep elderly and disabled St. Louisans safe from the deadly heat.
Ameren donated the first 240 air conditioners with the hope that more units will be donated and more money raised to assist the most vulnerable members of the community.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says donations are critical to this program's success. "It is important to note that eventually, all the funds will be exhausted this year," Slay said. "And remind you that 100 percent of proceeds, 100 percent of private donations go directly to helping someone in need. There are no administrative costs that come out of our donations."
For more information about donating an air conditioning unit or giving a monetary donation, log on to CoolDownStLouis.org.
Monday's afternoon's storm and flooding left thousands without power in the St. Louis area. Ameren reports only a handful of homes and businesses remain without power Tuesday morning.
At the height of the Monday afternoon storm over 4,000 were without power in Missouri and another 1,000 in Illinois.
They were most heavily concentrated in Webster Groves and Affton. Lights were also out at several businesses at the intersection Hampton and Chippewa.
The greatest threat from the storms was flooding.
Some areas in and around St. Louis absorbed several inches of rain in short order. Flash flooding, a problem in several areas including South City on Kingshighway near Chippewa, where Jerry Ackerman says his Toyota showroom got a little wet. (Yeh, it kinda happened real quick here. The rain came down, water starts shooting out of the manholes and the next thing you know it's up to our front window here in the showroom.)
Ackerman says everything was fine until drivers ventured through the water, creating waves which pushed the H2O into his business. There was about three inches of water to mop up. Reporting in South St. Louis city, I'm Vicki Pimentel, KTRS news.
Good news for those still cleaning up from Friday's storms. Ameren reports that the power has been restored to almost all electric customers in St. Charles County and the metro-east.
Steady progress is also being made to repair damage in infrastructure in St. Louis County where an EF-3 tornado took down more than a hundred power poles. Ameren officials say more than 500 poles were damaged area wide.
Ameren's Michael Moehn says it's been a big job with a big price tag. "Roughly speaking we're probably spending about $3 million a day to put the system back together." Moehn says eventually that cost will be passed along to consumers.
As of 2:50 a.m. Tuesday, about 14,000 St. Louis County residents remain in the dark. That's down from more than 35,000 Monday morning and well over 90,000 on Friday.
A quick traffic note. MoDOT is closing 170 between 70 and 270 until 3PM on Monday.
They are giving Ameren crews time to restring power lines over the interstate. Drivers are encouraged to use 70 or 270 as a detour.
Ameren crews continue to work around the clock to restore power to those affected by Friday night's storms.
The EF-3 tornado carved a 32 mile path of destruction from Weldon Spring to Ferguson and tore down over 200 poles critical to supplying electricity to tens of thousands of customers. Ameren's Michael Moehn says replacing the 70 foot poles is extremely labor intensive.
"This is what we would call sub-transmission lines," Moehn said. "So the way it works is, we have to get this installed first because this feeds substations which then feed neighborhoods. So what we have to do is come in and disconnect everything from the existing poles, and then reset the new pole, and reconnect everything."
Moehn urges anyone who sees a downed pole or power line to stay away from it and call Ameren immediately. (1-800-552-7583)
Moehn says about 90,000 customers were left in the dark from Friday's storms.
He says it is one of the top wind-damaging outbreaks in recent memory. "This certainly ranks up there with the top two or three in the past six or seven years. Again, the amount of sub-transmission with these really high poles, that kind of damage is significant."
Moehn expects most customers will have power restored by later today, although some may have to wait until tomorrow. As of 6:00 a.m. today, 36,000 electric customers in St. Charles and St. Louis Counties were still without power. Another 1,000 customers in Madison County were still in the dark.
Another line of storms is pushing through the St. Louis area as of 7:00 a.m. Monday. Severe storms that pushed through the St. Louis metro area early Monday morning brought strong winds and lightning. The storms caused scattered power outages that plunged thousands of residents into the dark.
As of 7:05 a.m., about 88-hundred people are without power on the Missouri side of the river with about half in St. Louis County and another 19-hundred in the Metro East-mainly in St. Clair County.
Ameren has set up a memorial fund for one of their line workers who died last week. Dave Burns was electrocuted while performing repairs in the wake of the Hazelwood tornado.
Donations can be sent to the following fund:
In Memory of Dave Burns Fund
Vantage Credit Union
P.O. Box 4433
Bridgeton, Mo. 63044
Sympathy cards and/or letters of condolence can be sent to:
Baue Funeral Home
Attn: Ryan Burns
3950 W. Clay St.
St. Charles, Mo. 63301
With another line of potentially severe weather expected to push through the metro-area Thursday, Ameren has place crews on both sides of the river on stand-by. Ameren officials say they've mobilized personnel and equipment to facilitate their response to any storm-related power outages.
But Ameren officials say there are some things customers who lose power during the storms need to do. First, officials say, report the outage. Don't assume the power company knows your lights are out.
Second, they remind customers to stay away from downed power lines and always assume that any lines that have fallen are still live wires. Report the downed lines immediately.
They say to stay out of the way of power company crews who are working to repair lines and restore power.
And finally, they ask customers to be patient. Crews will get repairs made as quickly as they can do so safely.
More tips can be found at Ameren's online Outage Center.
Sad news as crews continue to cleanup efforts in North County.
An Ameren lineman died today while working to restore power in St. Ann. Reports are the worker, an 18 year veteran, came in contact with a live wire and was electrocuted.