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Day seven without power for thousands

A sign in north St. Louis County reads \"Hey Ameren, still no power\" Tuesday, showing frustration of some customers. (KWMU photo/Tom Weber)

By Maria Hickey & Tom Weber, KWMU / AP

St. Louis, MO – Ameren said this (Wed) morning that 80,000 customers in the St. Louis metro area still have no power, but that crews have been restoring power at a rate of 100,000 a day.

There are currently more than 4,000 private contractors and Ameren employees working in the field to get the lights back on.

"It is extremely difficult to make estimates," said Ameren spokesman Tim Fox, of the challenge of saying for sure when everyone would have power again. "We've been restoring roughly 100,000 a day, which would have us on a pace to have things wrapped up today, although we do suspect there will be some who will continue into tomorrow."

A heat advisory is in effect for St. Louis; temperatures are expected to be in the 90s for much of the rest of the week.

The city of St. Louis will open eight hot meal sites today to serve residents who still lack power, or for those who have power but no food. The Salvation Army will help run the centers and expects to serve about 20,000 meals daily.

The violent weather and resulting blackouts are blamed for five deaths, the most recent yesterday when an Ameren worker was electrocuted while working to restore power in St. Louis County.

For Peggy and Don McDonald, of Ferguson, their days without power have at least also included a generator. Don, a retired Northwoods police chief, insisted on getting it after losing power in May. Wires snake through the house keeping fans, the refrigerator, and the TV running.

But Peggy says not all of their neighbors are so lucky, noting "some of them have had to go.

"They're old and they can't live in their houses. Some of them are getting by without generators. They can't afford generators."

Free meals will be offered at:

- Wohl Recreation Center, 1515 N. Kingshighway
- Tandy Recreation Center, 4106 Kennerly
- Gamble Recreation Center, 2907 Gamble
- 12th & Park Recreation Center, 1410 S. Tucker
- Prince Hall Family Support Center, 4411 N. Newstead
- Salvation Army Temple Corp., 2740 Arsenal
- Salvation Army Carondelet Corp., 3601 Weber
- Mount Zion Church, 1444 S. Compton


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