Ameren Illinois has received an Emergency Response Award from the Edison Electric Institute for restoring power to nearly 200,000 customers after the June Derecho.
According to the National Weather Service, the storm damaged 500-plus-mile area across several Midwest states.
The storm with wind gusts of 100 mph and produced tornadoes destroyed electric infrastructure in the mid-section of Ameren Illinois’ service territory. It caused extensive tree damage, damaged power poles, electric distribution and transmission equipment and resulted in power outages.
The utility reported that 256 power poles (sub-transmission and distribution) were damaged or destroyed and several substations were damaged and out of service within the first few hours of the storm.
The peak number of outages companywide reached approximately 182,000 customers, the equivalent of roughly 1,000 customer outages per minute, over a three-hour period of the storm. The most affected areas were in Macon, Champaign and Vermilion counties.
Ameren Illinois not only activated its Incident Management Team to support restoration activities but also appointed crews to coordinate service restoration, logistical support and communications throughout the day.
"Ameren Illinois' ability to restore service to so many customers so quickly was a direct result of our investments in the electric grid over the last 10 years," said Ameren Illinois President Lenny Singh said. "In the face of such a devastating storm, the damage to our system was far less than it would have been without having strengthened the grid to provide reliable and resilient infrastructure to our customers.”