ST. LOUIS – Strong winds can cause power outages which Ameren Missouri monitors closely to make appropriate operating decisions when gusty winds are expected.
“So some of those decisions include different resource allocations as far as availability. Making sure they’re on the ready so we can respond if we’re going to have any potential outages today,” Director of Distribution Operating of Ameren Missouri Ryan Arnold said.
Ameren also does not take as many risks on the system.
“We limit some of our switching operations so that our system is flexible and agile for the day and it can respond to any outage if they would occur and so we don’t disrupt many customers in doing that,” Arnold said.
There are a few factors working in the customers’ favor to reduce the number of potential outages despite strong winds.
“It’s a little bit drier right now, and there’s a lot of leaves off the trees so that makes it a little more favorable so that the trees are not as large of an issue,” Arnold said. “Usually what you see is dead limbs kind of blow out of the trees and they could hit the power lines and power poles and take some lines to the ground.”
They also ask that customers remember to secure outdoor objects when gusty winds are in the forecast because they can blow into the lines and cause outages.
“We have experienced metal siding blown into the lines, trampolines blown into the lines, tarps blown into the lines, so just a lot of those types of objects that they can be secured or be prepared for wind gusts,” Arnold said. “It also saves a lot of customers a power outage or issues that blow into our system.”
When winds begin gusting over 45 miles an hour, it can be dangerous for the linemen.
“So when it gets anywhere up to 45 or greater, we really have to watch that and understand the angles at which they’re working, the heights that which they’re working, and if it gets greater than that we will not let them work in the bucket trucks at that time and also on the poles,” Arnold said. “So, we have to look at other ways to get power restored.”
If you encounter an issue such as a downed power line, do not go outside and investigate on your own because there are a lot of hidden hazards and electric currents that can travel through the ground depending on the voltage of the lines.
It is suggested to stay inside and call 1-800-552-7583 to report an issue.
Ameren Missouri also has an app for its customers where you can sign up for outage alerts. Download that app at Ameren.com/options.