The Ameren Illinois Utilities (AmerenCIPS, AmerenCILCO, AmerenIP) have restored service to about 23,600 customers in the wake of a storm that left about 43,500 customers in the dark early this morning.

The Ameren Illinois Utilities (AIU) expect the majority of customers will have their lights back on by late this evening. However, service will not be fully restored in the communities of Peoria, Elmwood and Galesburg until the end of the day Friday. Some isolated individual service outages are expected to continue into Saturday.

In addition to directing the service restoration effort, the AIU Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is closely monitoring developing weather conditions. If severe weather develops later today or overnight, new outages may result. Also, severe weather could hamper efforts to restore service to those who are now without lights. AIU personnel and contractor allies remain on alert, prepared to respond to any new weather-related service outages.

AIU has deployed three Storm Trailers in Peoria County. The Storm Trailers are mobile storerooms, stocked with the material field crews need to get the lights back on. The trailers can be moved to central staging sites to provide essential materials in those areas with the greatest damage.

"We are urging all residents to exercise special care until we have completed service restoration work," said Bill Prebil, Ameren Illinois Utilities (AIU) vice president of Regional Operations.

"This morning's 80 mile per hour winds broke dozens utility poles and sent large tree limbs crashing into our electric lines. As a result, we have many downed power lines. Please stay away from downed lines, as well as brush or fallen trees that often hide downed lines. Call us or '911' to report downed lines."