By Echo Menges
Ken Worland, the Northeast Missouri Division Director for Ameren Missouri was gracious enough to help us document Ameren’s response efforts after the Baring Tornado took out power lines and power poles throughout and around Baring. Worland answered our questions about the response via email.
The Ameren MO responders were met with a massive volunteer effort to help cleanup the town, which the Director and his team were glad to have. They were impressed by the community effort.
The EF2 tornado touched down on Friday night, August 4, 2023, at roughly 11:13 p.m. Within one hour, Ameren MO had a team in Baring assessing the damage to begin the process of restoring power to hundreds of customers.
“When we showed up, we as Ameren Missouri are very appreciative of the town. Obviously, there was a lot of damage. The emergency responders and everyone cleaning up brush was amazing,” said Ken Worland, NEMO Division Director for Ameren Missouri. “We can’t say enough about everyone that showed up.
“It was a really positive experience for us. Everyone really pitches in and really helps. From our perspective, everyone that responded was incredible. There was a lot of entities, a lot of restoration, and everybody did their thing. Ameren MO is part of this community. Clearly we have a pretty good workforce that responded. A lot of our coworkers are from the area. I’d like the city to know Ameren Missouri is gonna be there for them,” said Worland.
Q&A with Ken Worland, Ameren Missouri
NEMO Division Director
Q: How many people came to Baring to help get power restored after the tornado?
A: Nearly 75 personnel were on site: Journeymen linemen; Supervision; Safety Personnel; Material Procurement.
Q: What types of jobs were they doing?
Making the area safe for the residents, emergency responders and Ameren Missouri coworkers.
Assessed the damage and developed a plan of action/response.
Cleared rail lines of downed wires.
Coordinated with local Emergency Response personnel.
Replace poles, wire and transformers that were destroyed from the tornado.
Delivered necessary material to Baring so repairs could be made.
Q: Where did they come from?
A: The Ameren Missouri personnel came from local area: Kirksville, Wentzville and Jefferson City. Contractors (were from) St. Louis and surrounding areas.
Q: How long were they there?
A: Ameren Missouri personnel were on-site soon after the tornado struck. We finished up about Sunday (August 6) evening about 6:00 p.m. We are waiting on a few buildings to have their electrical services repaired before we can restore power; and we have some minor cleanup work left to do.
Q: How much line did they run? And what types?
A: Nearly three miles of new conductor (primary).
Q: How many poles and transformers did they replace?
A: About 33 poles replaced. About 12 transformers. Street lights for the town (hand full) for security and safety.
Q: In total, how many customers were affected?
A: (There were) 225 customers were without power around Baring immediately after the tornado struck. There were also customer outages in the Kirksville area due to the storm and torrential downpour.
Q: What was the timeline for restoring power to Baring?
A: About half of our customers were restored just after noon on Saturday (August 5). Most of the rest were restored early Sunday afternoon (August 6)around 1:30 p.m.
Q: What is the cost for Ameren to respond to these disasters? How much was spent in restoring Baring? How to you recoup that money?
A: Restoration costs will be calculated in the future. It’s put in with all other operating costs and included in future rate reviews.
Q: Is there anything I haven’t asked about you would like to add?
A: Safety of the community, first responders, and our coworkers is our top priority. We remind all of our communities, customers and residents to always treat a downed powerline as being energized and to call us. About 25 meters do not have power due to building and electrical damage.