Ameren Illinois warns spring storms can blow trees over, leading to outages

Illinois

MARYVILLE, Ill. – Spring weather frequently brings powerful and dangerous storms. Trees fall on power lines and people can lose electricity for several days.

Ameren Illinois has created a program called “Right Tree. Right Space.” to prevent these yearly problems.

The utility strongly encourages folks not to plant trees under or near power lines. A beautiful tree planted today could turn into a nightmare many years from now.

It’s not difficult to find tree limbs growing around electric lines, especially in older neighborhoods.

Ruth Frizzell has seen it in her neighborhood.

“We’re seeing a lot of large trees being cut down for fear a of spring storms,” she said.

Before you’re forced to pay to remove them, don’t plant them. Falling trees and limbs are responsible for many power outages across Illinois every year.

“This past year in 2020, we had approximately 100,000 tree-caused outages that were beyond my control,” Rick Johnson, vegetation management with Ameren Illinois, said. “They were wind blow, tornado, straight-line winds.”

The storms create tough times in the summer or winter. Homeowner Chris Deem said he remembered a brutal ice storm from about 15 years ago.

“It lasted several days before people got their power back,” he said. “We were without power for four or five days.”

All those repairs cost Ameren money, which you end up paying for in your utility bill.

“Ultimately, it would save the customer money in the long run if they didn’t plant the tree in our right of way,” Johnson said.

He estimated more than half of last year’s power outages were the result of homeowners planting trees under or near powerlines. He also warned people with ash trees to be careful. If the emerald ash beetle is killing your tree, take it down quickly! Once it’s dead, that tree can fall over much faster that other dying trees.

And finally, don’t only look up before you plant also look down, Johnson said, call 811 before you dig.

“To make sure there are no cables, gas lines, or utilities underground; because if you dig, you could get seriously injured,” he said.

Additional information:
My Safe Trees
Ameren Illinois – Grant application

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.

Popular

Latest News

More News