COLLINSVILLE, IL (KFVS) - Ameren Illinois is continuing to monitor natural gas and electric equipment near cresting rivers across its service territory after this past weekend's historic flooding.
Ameren Illinois has contingency plans in place already should flood waters become an issue, and is also prepared to set up mobile substations on higher ground in towns affected by flooding.
The company is also urging customers to take safety precautions to prevent accidents or injuries. Wading in deep water in basements to remove items or operate pumping systems poses a major safety risk. Ameren Illinois is reminding customers to never enter a flooded basement or other flooded areas where water may be in contact with electrical wiring, appliances and other devices.
"Water and electricity do not mix," Ron Pate, senior vice president of Operations and Technical Services for Ameren Illinois, said. "Customers must be vigilant in ensuring that when handling electric powered devices that they are not in contact with any water."
In addition, flooding and deep water in basements can extinguish pilot lights in homes.
Disconnecting natural gas service is a safety precaution and will allow for a safer restoration once the water subsides.
Ameren Illinois offers the following tips on flooding safety:
- If you detect a natural gas odor, immediately leave your home or business and call Ameren Illinois Customer Service at 1-800-755-5000. Do not turn lights on or off, operate any electrical device, use a phone or light a match inside or near the building.
- Never enter a flooded basement or other flooded area where water may be in contact with electrical wiring, appliances and other devices.
- Never attempt to turn off power at the main electrical panel box if you must stand in water or on a wet floor to do so.
- Never use electrical appliances or devices or touch electrical switches, outlets or cords if you are standing in water or are on a wet surface, or even if you are wet or the device is wet.
- Keep electric-powered tools and equipment at least 10 feet away from water and wet surfaces.
- In the event of flooding, Ameren Illinois will turn off electrical power to a home or business at the request of a customer. Contact Ameren Illinois at 1-800-755-5000 to have the power turned off when flood waters are likely to reach the main electrical panel box. Ameren Illinois also will turn power off at the request of local authorities.
Ameren Illinois recommends that customers take these actions after a flood:
- Before touching or unplugging electrical appliances or devices that have been in contact with water, turn off the circuit that feeds the appliance or have the power to the building disconnected.
- If you have any doubts about the safety of your home or business electrical system, have it inspected by a professional electrician.
- Have a professional service person inspect an air conditioner, furnace, water heater and any other electrical or natural gas appliance or device that was entirely or partially submerged to determine if it can be used, requires repairs or must be replaced
- If electrical or natural gas service has been turned off, contact Ameren Illinois at 1-800-755-5000 to have it turned on once the electrical and natural gas systems have been determined by a service professional to be safe.