Missouri Regulators Criticize Ameren for Prolonged Power Outage

DECEMBER 6, 2006 - Posted at 7:57 a.m. CST

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Power is restored to most areas in Missouri hardest hit by the first winter storm of the season. But state regulators are frustrated that Ameren hasn't done more to prevent widespread outages.

Ameren says crews have restored power to more than 325,000 customers since last week's storm. Fewer than 68,000 homes and businesses in the St. Louis area are still without electricity.

Yesterday Ameren executive Thomas Voss told regulators that the ice storm was the area's worst since 1978, and that most of the damage was done by trees rooted on private property.

But Missouri Public Service Commission chairman Jeff Davis was not satisfied with that answer -- his voice rose when he reminded Voss that it was Ameren's fourth major, prolonged power outage in three years. Commissioners demanded that Ameren come up with suggestions to prevent such widespread blackouts.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)