Cahokia residents upset over Ameren’s response to leaning pole

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CAHOKIA, IL (KPLR) - “The pole had started crashing over,” Walt Schmid looked up at a brand-new power pole. “We thought it was going to keep going”

The owner of Walt Schmid Repair and Sales snapped pictures of Ameren Illinois workers scrambling to install the new pole Friday afternoon. The older one stood, or rather leaned, at an almost 45-degree angle in front of his lawn care shop on Carol Street near Mousette in Cahokia.

“I know it took more than an hour and a half to get someone out here.”

He said his daughter called the Ameren emergency line. But, he called the Camp Jackson Fire Department, first.

“They had called, too and they were surprised that they were not out here sooner.”

Cliff Schmid is Walt’s son and a lawnmower mechanic at the shop.

“It was about 12 o’clock. What I was worried about was if one of those wires would have snapped and even hit one of our customers coming in. But then, we had to rope [the shop’s parking lot] off. They didn’t come back until about 5 o’clock that afternoon and started fixing it.”

Schmid said he almost lost thousands of dollars of lawn equipment parked on his property next to the pole. He moved the mowers and tractors out of the way. But, he could not move his son’s home which sat right next door.

“Three weeks ago, or so, there was a guy that walked through here and he was over here looking at the home,” Cliff remembered. “I said, ‘I just bought it.’ ‘The line,’ he said, ‘it needs to be raised.’ And I said, ‘The pole needs to be changed too.’”

Cliff said that person was an Ameren employee who inspected the house. But, he also said there was no company response until Friday’s near collapse. The Schmids claimed it took about two years to get another pole on their property fixed. They also said neighbors are still calling, and waiting, for pole repairs near their homes.

”You pay for their services.” Cliff said. “You hope they get out here and get it fixed.”

A spokesperson for Ameren Illinois said the company could only release information on Mr. Schmid's call, with his written permission. They said requests for that permission have gone unanswered, and state law prohibits the company from commenting on his claims.

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