Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

January 8, 2014

Tipton County residents suffer another power outage

Cold weather hampers power delivery as well as road clearing.

By Martin Slagter Kokomo Tribune
Kokomo Tribune

---- — TIPTON — After the majority of power for the more than 3,800 residents in Sharpsville, Hobbs and Windfall was restored Monday afternoon, another outage left approximately 2,400 Tipton County residents without power again early Tuesday morning.

Thanks to another quick response by Duke Energy, Emergency Management Director Chuck Bell noted, residents were without power for only a couple of hours. Power was completely restored for county residents around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Duke Energy spokeswoman Angeline Protogere estimated approximately 1,400 of the residents without power early Tuesday were from Sharpsville, which also suffered the brunt of the outages on Monday.

Bell said the cold weather has been the biggest culprit, with frozen equipment at power substations causing a major line to fall in the latest round of outages.

Thanks to good communication between residents, Tipton County EMA and Duke Energy, and the presence of social media, power was restored in a timely fashion – much like it was on Monday.

“The community has been great as far as notifying us and making Duke [Energy] aware that their power is out, whether it’s with phone calls or on Facebook,” Bell said. “Obviously the more people that make [Duke Energy] aware of the scope of the outage, the more quickly they’re going to be able to respond.”

With temperatures expected to increase nominally today, Bell said he hopes residents are better equipped to handle any potential hazards as a result of the weather, including power outages and driving conditions.

Tipton County EMA and highway employees started Monday evening by removing 20 stranded or abandoned vehicles from county roads, Bell said, which allowed workers to make some headway in clearing them. On Sunday, county highway workers removed 11 cars that contained a total of 29 people that were stuck in the snow.

Mechanical breakdowns on plow trucks, often caused by freezing elements, Bell said, forced highway department workers to go out to clear roads in tandem. A total of 66 people have spent the night at the Trinity Wesleyan Church in Tipton since a shelter opened there on Sunday, while 102 have been at the church for shelter at one point or another. Just 11 remained on Tuesday, as the Tipton EMA worked to get those people transportation home.

Bell estimated 40 percent of county roads had been cleared and were open Tuesday, mainly as emergency routes.

It has all been a challenge, but Bell said he was confident the county will continue to respond to any potential hazards quickly.

“I think we have been very well prepared as a public and as safety entities,” he said. “We’re getting better cooperation from residents as we’re going. The thing that makes Tipton so great is you see a lot of neighbors helping each other out when their cars are stuck.”

Martin Slagter can be reached at 765-454-8570, martin.slagter@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at slagterm.