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Ameren Illinois stays on top of outages with critical equipment

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BELLEVILLE, IL (KTVI)- When the power goes out, people want the lights back on as soon as possible. Ameren Illinois realizes this and has spent years developing the right tools they need in the field to restore power as quickly as possible.

When severe or winter weather threatens the electrical grid, Ameren mobilizes teams in advance, locating crews ahead of the storm.

One key tool they have to get the power back on quickly is a mobile substation. It can be loaded quickly onto a flatbed trailer and taken to the outage site. Damaged equipment can be de-energized and replaced with the mobile one. Workers can then make necessary repairs.

Ameren Illinois has 17 of these mobile power stations, three of which are located in the Metro East.

“We’re able to station this equipment and be in the area where the storm is going to hit,” explains Ameren Illinois President and CEO Richard Mark. “And then respond as quickly as possible to get the customers back on as quickly as they can.”

To get permanent repairs, linemen will need access to all the equipment they need.  The utility has four mobile warehouses, called Storm Trailers, filled with supplies. They be in place anywhere in the state in a matter of hours.

“Our crews have become accustomed to these trailers. They know exactly where all the materials are’” explains Larry Bevington, superintendent of supply chain operations. “Just like you would have in your garage at home, they know exactly where they are, how they need to do it, what they need to pick up, and what’s they’re going to build.”

Approximately 400 linemen can work from of a storm trailer. When it gets emptied, another can be brought in with fresh supplies.

One of the first concerns of the utility, getting critical service back up and running. They will coordinated with hospitals, police and fire stations, and public works facilities to make sure they have the power they need to serve others.