AmerenUE has more than 2 million local customers for its energy services. Some of those customers are angry at the utility company — not because a storm knocked out the power (that was an act of Nature), and not because Ameren’s repair crews in the field have been anything other than competent and courageous (frankly, they’ve been great). Customer anger is focused on communications: the difficulty of getting a firm answer to the question of when the power will be back.
Here’s what they’ve told me: they expect all customers to have power again by Wednesday. Most City customers will have power back before then.
Ameren executives made some important decisions this weekend, including one that I had strongly suggested. I asked them to focus their initial efforts on restoring power to at-risk City neighborhoods — those with high-rise senior buildings, cooling centers, schools and daycares, and other gathering places for our most vulnerable neighbors. I stood with Gov. Matt Blunt today in a emergency shelter that was far under capacity, because Ameren had been able to restore power to most of the neighborhood around it.
My chief concern right now is protecting life and getting essential services to City neighborhoods. We’ll review everyone’s responses later when things are back to normal.