ST. LOUIS (June 9, 2014) – As part of its annual Air Conditioner Giveaway Program, Ameren Missouri donated 565 window air conditioners to Cool Down St. Louis, a regional not-for-profit public education and resource charity, which will distribute them to disabled and elderly Ameren Missouri customers throughout eastern Missouri. The company also distributed air conditioners to the Jefferson County Health Department. Also Cool Down officials visited a four-family flat in South City where each unit had a disabled person without an air-conditioner, and required installation.
“Our Air Conditioner Giveaway Program focuses on helping ensure our most vulnerable customers are safe during the hot summer months,” said Michael Moehn, president and CEO of Ameren Missouri. “We are proud to support Cool Down St. Louis and its partner agencies, which do an outstanding job distributing the air conditioners throughout eastern Missouri – keeping people and families safe during the hot summer months.”
Typically, the program kicks off in mid-June. This year, Ameren Missouri and Cool Down St. Louis decided to hold the event sooner – ahead of the forthcoming heat and humidity and to ensure recipients are prepared for the hot summer months.
The air conditioners are ENERGY STAR® certified units that meet the strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy. They cost approximately 75 cents per day to operate.
The program is supported by Cool Down St. Louis officials and supporters St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann, St. Louis Interim Health Director Pamela Walker, St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson, who represents the Greater St. Louis Area Fire Chiefs Association, and Michael P. McMillan, board of directors (Cool Down St. Louis) and president and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis (including St. Louis County).
“This gift by Ameren Missouri comes at a time when many seniors and people with disabilities can’t afford to stay cool. Ameren Missouri’s generosity marks a gift of life and will provide an opportunity for our seniors to remain cool and safe during the smothering summer,” Walker said. “We want our precious seniors to keep the air on, and worry about your electricity second, and if that is a problem, call our partner, Cool Down St. Louis.”
“These are challenging times for so many seniors and disabled people who are scared to ask for help,” said Jenkerson, who is co-chair of health and safety for Cool Down St. Louis. “Therefore, we need to make sure to check on our neighbors so that they can enjoy a cool and safe summer. We’re trying to stay ahead of the curve by being prepared, and thanks to Ameren Missouri, we will be ready for this smoldering heat when it arrives consistently. We want everyone to keep on the air. Since working with Cool Down, EMS will evaluate seniors and people with disabilities to see if any of these heat-related illnesses can be resolved by ensuring they have a new Ameren Missouri/Cool Down St. Louis air conditioner. The maintenance information being provided this year by Ameren Missouri is critical. Air conditioners need to be ready to serve their purpose – keeping people cool and safe. So, to all of our residents throughout the St. Louis region, please turn on the air because the life you save may be your own.”
St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann also expressed appreciation of Ameren Missouri and its commitment to the program, which is in its ninth year.
“Being without a cooling source isn’t just an urban challenge,” Ehlmann said. “We want to get an early start on protecting our seniors and disabled residents as they are the most vulnerable with potential heat-related issues. The people of St. Charles are grateful for the effective teamwork of Ameren Missouri and Cool Down St. Louis and their network of partners. Because of everyone’s collective efforts, many residents in need throughout our region can now hopefully experience an enjoyable, safe and cool summer.”
“On behalf of the Urban League of Metropolitan of St. Louis, serving St. Louis County and City, and all of the Missouri agencies partnering today with Cool Down St Louis and Ameren Missouri, we want you to know that these air conditioners are in fact life-savers for hundreds of seniors and the disabled people,” said McMillan. “I wish to thank our 14-year partner Cool Down St Louis and Ameren Missouri. These are challenging times where agencies are grasping for dollars for so many human service programs. Cool Down, which started the Cooling Air Conditioning Caravan in partnership with Ameren Missouri about seven years ago, has a legacy of assuring that our fragile neighbors are protected from what could be deadly summer heat.”
“This summer, it’s important to have everyone check on their elderly and disabled neighbors to avoid heat-related illnesses,” said Rev. Earl E. Nance, Jr., chair emeritus of the regional charity. “Thanks to Ameren Missouri, we’re able to distribute thousands of our Check On Your Neighbor Cooling Cards, which are a valuable resource for those in need.”
Additionally, Cool Down St. Louis officials are reminding other area corporations and the public that they too can donate a new and slightly used air conditioner (no less than two years old) to the regional charity by dropping off a unit at any Vatterott College location. More information and locations are available at cooldownstlouis.org. Last year, Cool Down St. Louis distributed more than 1,100 donated air conditioners thanks to Ameren Missouri and the general public. If a senior or person who is disabled needs assistance, please visit the Cool Down St. Louis website or call the organization’s automated hotline at 314.241.7668.
Along with promoting heat safety and the importance of running an air conditioner during the hot summer months, Ameren Missouri invites customers to learn about its Energy Efficiency programs, which offer rebates to replace inefficient air conditioner units, AC tune-ups and refrigerator/freezer recycling. More information is available at AmerenMissouri.com/ActOnEnergy.