Power outages flurry across central Illinois

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CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Crews with several utility companies are working to restore electrical services after icy and snowy weather hit parts of central Illinois over the weekend.

Ameren Illinois spokesperson Kelly Hendrickson says the company has had crews out working since Friday as the ice storms struck.

“It’s exceptionally challenging,” she says, “because the after affects linger with icy buildup on power lines and trees. Fatigue happens over time with trees and lines coming down.”

“The additional snow impacts this,” she continues, “adding more weight to trees and lines and bringing them down.”

“It’s definitely an ‘all hands on deck’ situation,” says Ameren’s Hendrickson. “Crews are out there working as quickly and safely as possible to get everyone back online.”

The energy company spokesperson says over 1,000 personnel are working on restoration efforts. She adds customers should report outages online or call 1-800-755-5000.

As of 11:40 a.m. Sunday, over 2,000 customers in De Witt County remain without power.

Farmer City said around 200-300 customers had services knocked out. It said at 11:30 a.m. Sunday that it expects power to be restored in 1 hour.

Corn Belt Energy says in a press release it’s continuing to make progress on restoring power to customers knocked out by the winter storm.

The release says heavy ice and snow, along with strong winds, had ‘wrecked havoc’ on its service area.

“Downed lines and broken poles as well as trees falling and burning power lines are examples of the types of storm damage we are encountering,” the release says. “Corn Belt Energy continues to make safety and restoration of power a top priority.”

It says around 2,500 members of the cooperative power service are facing outages, and their workers have been engaged in restoration efforts since Friday.

“Initially the outages were localized in the western portion of our service area and now are surfacing in all areas of our service territory,” said Steve Hancock, Vice President of Electric Distribution.

“Crews are currently encountering 1/4” and more ice on lines and accessibility issues due to snowy and icy roadways and access areas,” he continued. “Although we are working 24/7 to restore power the weather is still largely impacting our restoration efforts as icy conditions remain an issue and any additional wind gusts could cause more damage to our system.

“Wind in combination with the ice may cause blinks as well as further outages.”

The company also encouraged people to check on neighbors without power, especially elderly people and those with physical limitations.

This story was updated to reflect outage response information provided by Ameren and Corn Belt Energy.

ORIGINAL POST: CENTRAL ILLINOIS, Ill. (WCIA) — Several communities in central Illinois are without power after a New Year’s weekend of snowy and icy weather.

As of 11 a.m. Sunday, over 2,000 customers were without power in De Witt County. That includes 1,744 Ameren customers and 864 with Corn Belt Energy.

Farmer City crews say they’re working on issues with two feeders between homes and its power plant.

“Crews are still working on one of them and unfortunately it will be at least another hour or more,” the city says in a Facebook post. “We cannot guarantee there is mutual aid available due to the extent of the storm damage.”

“We would encourage you, that if you feel comfortable to drive, to go and visit friends or relatives who have power in the interim.”

Macon County has over 500 total customers without power. Of those, 392 are with Ameren and 129 are with Corn Belt Energy.

Piatt County has 267 Ameren customers without electricity, and in addition to 43 with Corn Belt Energy.

McLean County topped Ameren’s state-wide outage list with 2,755 customers without service. Another 1,196 customers with Corn Belt Energy are also without service in the county.

WCIA is working to find out how utility companies are responding to their outages.

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