ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- If you live in North St. Louis County, you know you've seen more than your share of power outages over the past few years and now we know why.
The problem is power pole fires and over the past several years there have been an unusually high number of them in North St. Louis County.
But all that should soon be coming to an end.
There are few things in life more aggravating than watching your favorite TV show or reading under your favorite lamp when suddenly everything goes dark.
Over the past few years, pole fires have plunged North County residents into the dark eight times. There have been three in just the past nine months.
And that's why Wednesday and Thursday, Ameren has an army of linemen stretched out along a one mile section of Dunn Road trying to solve the problem.
Those insulators are supposed to protect the pole when a wire overheats, but the older they get the less effective they become.
But Ameren says its research has also found in this part of the county there is another factor.
The taller the poles the more likely they are to be hit by lightning, which causes the wires to overheat, overloading the old insulators, leading to more fires and the outages that follow.
Now Ameren is hoping by replacing almost 140 of those old porcelain insulators with these new silicone insulators, life in this part of town will be a little brighter.
This insulator replacement project is part of a $1 billion modernization of Ameren Missouri’s system that began after those huge outages in 2006 and 2007.
Ameren says since that time its reliability has improved 44 percent.