Ameren Missouri sending crewmen to Florida ahead of Irma landfall

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ST. LOUIS - As Irma inches closer to Florida, St. Louis is already sending help where millions will be without power. Hundreds of Ameren Missouri crews are gearing up and expected to hit the road at 4 a.m. Friday for the long drive to Orlando.

This is all part of a mutual assistance agreement many utility companies have with each other. Ameren Missouri is sending between 60 and 70 of its trucks, a contingent force of 125 workers (which includes more than 100 linemen), and an additional two dozen support staff.

Crews will focus first on hospitals and critical care facilities and emergency management agencies; anything that requires electricity in order to support essential social services.

"Nobody wants to be out of power, it's that simple. A big storm hits and damage is going to occur, power will be out to hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of people,” said Mike Lewis, Ameren Missouri superintendent of Reliability Support Services. “Without the additional assistance, it will take a long time to get those people back into service."

Ameren Missouri had several crews already posted in Houston for Harvey recovery. Those 80 restoration workers and emergency responders will eventually head to Orlando to join the rest of the linemen.