Ameren workers across Illinois and Missouri headed to Arkansas Saturday to assist in repairing damage and restoring power in Little Rock, Arkansas, and the surrounding communities in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Laura. The company’s personnel and contractors, including linemen, fleet, logistics, and safety assisted crews from Entergy Arkansas. There were approximately 50,000 Arkansas residents without power across the state. Ameren personnel deployed Saturday morning at 5 a.m. from Operating Centers in Illinois and Missouri. Earlier this month, Ameren provided assistance to sister utilities in New Jersey and Connecticut restoring power to communities in need after Hurricane Isaias pounded the East Coast.
Ameren Illinois and Ameren Missouri are voluntary members of the electric power industry’s mutual assistance network through the Edison Electric Institute. When called upon, a company will send either company employees, contractors or both, along with specialized equipment to help with the restoration efforts of a fellow company. In essence, it allows a utility hit by a major or catastrophic storm to expand its workforce by borrowing field personnel from other companies in unaffected areas. Following some large storms here Ameren has called upon other utilities for assistance and has a history of helping other utilities, providing support with catastrophic events such as Hurricane Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico in 2017, Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Just as they do in Illinois and Missouri, Ameren response personnel and crews are taking extra precautions to mitigate the risks associated with COVID-19. Preventive actions, such as social distancing and use of masks, and protective eyewear and gloves, are being used. Safety is one of Ameren’s core values.