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What has Eureka done to prepare for power outages?
The City of Eureka has backup generators to power our utilities (water and sewer), as well as emergency and shelter planning. We have fared better than many cities during outages partly because of ongoing efforts with Ameren to reduce power interruptions. Over the past several years we have improved our existing services as well as planned for future needs. We worked on outage patterns City-wide. This resulted in reductions in power losses as well as their duration. Eureka was one of the first cities to undergo extensive tree trimming to reduce storm outages.
The Augustine Heights area had experienced a pattern of outages that had frustrated residents as well as caused serious concerns for those who depend upon their power for medical needs. Ameren inspected the system in that area and noted several equipment needs. Replacements and repairs were made which have resulted in considerable improvements in that section of the Code. More improvements have been made including the installation of new equipment at Eureka Road and Augustine as well as modifications to isolate problems and provide greater reliability.
In the Legends area, residents may have noted new poles and power lines in the southwestern portion of the development. This additional feed results in redundant and alternate paths for power in that part of town.
In the Hilltop area, (especially in the Walden Street and Court portion as well as areas south and east of Walden) there had been frequent outages. These had been primarily caused by a line that runs parallel to and in the woods behind Walden Drive. In conjunction with the necessary Forby Estates enhancements, the City worked with Ameren to improve poles and equipment, bury additional lines, as well as to perform extensive tree trimming. Alderman Berry was the catalyst and key person in obtaining these improvements.
The City also engaged in discussions and review of how power is delivered to the northern portion of Eureka (N. Virginia, Hilltop, Rockwood, Hunters Green, Fifth Street, etc.) Ameren installed equipment that splits the main feed into two sections so that when damage occurs fewer lines and businesses experience outages. This results in fewer outages during ice and storm events.
With regard to the Eureka substation located on Highway 109 (near Eureka City Hall), Ameren made significant investments in its substation infrastructure in 2002 and 2004. During these years, Ameren installed a second supply, transformer and switchgear at the substation. This system expansion now allows Ameren the capability to switch customer load automatically at the substation in the event one of the supplies or transformers fail. Although these improvements do not provide full redundancy, it does allow for Ameren to maintain power to most customers in the event of a major equipment failure.
At the Six Flags substation located on West Fifth Street (near the Fire Station), Ameren has also improved the dependability of the electrical system by replacing the aged, direct-buried underground cables exiting the substation with new cables in reliable conduit systems. Additionally, Ameren has worked closely with Six Flags Theme Park officials over the past several years to replace failed underground cables located within the park.
Power outages are, at the least, inconvenient. Eureka residents and businesses always have great concern over their frequency and duration. As Mayor, I have requested, (and used with great frequency), direct contact with Ameren. This has given us the ability to work with Ameren on crew dispatching, more efficient outage assessment and greater communication with our residents. During an outage, contact Ameren at 314-342-1000. If you have any additional questions call your Alderman or me. If you have purchased a generator, you may contact Ameren (314-342-1000) for information on how to safely use it. Outages can never be completely eliminated, but have been and will continue to be reduced through communication and planning with Ameren and homeowners.