Duke Energy had over 70,000 customers without power after Wednesday’s storms – at one peak time over 30,000 — and had them all back on by 9p Thursday.
Customers with phone service began receiving text messages on Wednesday that plans were to have customers in the Salem area back on by about noon Thursday.
However, Wednesday at 7p customers started reporting lights coming on around the area.
Bruce Calloway, Duke Energy Government and Community Relations Manager said there were two Salem substations, a substation in Pekin and Borden all out during this outage.
“That was about 7000 customers,” Calloway said Friday afternoon. “The outages started about 6a on Wednesday and we were able to return power to most customers by 9p — and we had no injuries, which is our goal.”
The damage to Duke Energy lines was primarily due to trees falling lines due to wind and lightening.
The National Weather Service reported straight line winds of up to 85 mph.
During the peak outage, we peaked at 31,000 sustained outages (those over 5 minutes).
“Since the beginning, we restored over 77,000 customers around the state,” said Calloway.
Duke had customers without power in Seymour, Corydon and Salem, Madison and Clarksville, Bedford, Columbus, Noblesville and Princeton.
“We had over 800 resources for this,” said Calloway. “Line personnel, vegetation management, assessors and contractors. When it’s that widespread, it’s a logistic puzzle to put together.”
“There’s never been a storm in my career — about 38 years — that we didn’t get the power restored. Each time our goal has been to do that safely. None of the employees or the public was injured…that’s our number one priority.”
Calloway said the damage was mainly to the two transmission lines coming into Salem.
“We have two different feeds of transmission lines coming into Salem and we sustained damage to both of those. We had no backup feed,” he said.
“Our challenges on this were due to terrain,” he said. “Much of this was in the right of way. There were half a dozen poles damaged on one of the feeds. We had to get a bulldozer in there to clear a road to get trucks in to the poles. We had to manually climb some of those poles to complete repairs.”
Calloway said Duke couldn’t get trucks to all of the downed lines. So we had to manually climb the poles and do much of the work,” he said. “They were able to get repairs made to get the lines back up and secured safely.”
Safety, he said, is the number one goal. “That’s our number one objective. We had no injuries during these repairs. We want to get the power back on quickly and safely.”
“We appreciate everyone’s patience,” Calloway said. “We’ll be making storm repairs for some time after this. We really appreciate the communities understanding.”
Duke Energy Indiana’s operations provide approximately 6,900 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 790,000 customers, making it the state’s largest electric supplier.