Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Ameren Under Fire in Missouri

Though power has been restored to most areas hardest hit by the first winter storm of the season, Missouri's utility regulators are frustrated that more hasn't been done to prevent widespread outages...

Frustrations with the prolonged power outage prompted the Missouri Public Service Commission to summon Ameren's chief operating officer to a meeting Tuesday. Commissioners weren't satisfied with Executive Vice President Thomas Voss' explanation that the ice storm was the worst to hit the St. Louis since December 31, 1978, and that most of the damage was caused by trees rooted on private property.

Commission chairman Jeff Davis, his voice rising, noted it was Ameren's fourth major, prolonged power outage in three years. Davis and other commissioners demanded Ameren come up with suggestions to prevent such widespread blackouts -- be it buried power lines, stronger lines or expanded legal authority to trim trees.