Freezing rain turning to ice moved across portions of Indiana Michigan Power’s service territory on New Year’s Day, interrupting service to more than 12,000 customers. That number increased to more than 34,000 during the late night hours as ice turned to snow, weighing down tree branches and limbs. Many of the outages were caused by trees, branches and limbs hitting power lines under the weight of the precipitation. By Saturday evening, power was restored to 13,000 customers who went dark.
The following is information the utility provided:
Indiana Michigan Power continues to work through lingering ice and several waves of
poor weather conditions to restore power to those affected in the Michiana area. Hundreds of I&M employees and business partners from seven states are in the field throughout the area utilizing their expertise and advanced technical resources to safely restore power in the hard-hit South Bend/Elkhart area.
In many cases, I&M employees are working closely with forestry business partners to safely
remove trees and limbs from power lines and poles in order to access damaged lines and repair or replace them. During this work, crews practice COVID-19 protocols and are particularly cautious of the hazards posed by falling ice and tree branches.
As of 3 p.m. on Sunday, I&M restored power to more than 65% of customers who lost service due to freezing rain and two snowfalls over the weekend. I&M remains focused on safely restoring power to at least 75% of the South Bend/Elkhart area customers whose service was disrupted by 11 p.m. tonight and 100% by 3 p.m. Monday.
A key element in power restoration is assessing damage, and I&M is using drone technology to access some harder-to-reach areas. With more than 1,000 separate outage cases, the
assessments enable I&M to prioritize continued deployment of resources to restore power.
The restoration work involves more than 660 I&M and AEP employees plus business partners
from Indiana and Michigan as well as Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
It is vital to the safety of our customers and crews that customers who use generators must follow all the guidelines for proper use. It is extremely important never to use a generator indoors or in a partially enclosed space, and never to plug a generator into a wall outlet. Generator safety rules can be found at indianamichiganpower.com/safety/AtHomeSafety/PortableGenerators.aspx
Stay away from any downed wires and report them to I&M. You can call us at 800-311-
4634, report on our app or website, or call 911.
Trees could fall or drop limbs at any moment, please look up.
Many roads are icy and may be covered with debris. Please use extreme caution if you
must walk outside or drive.
Traffic lights may not be functioning. Please use caution and be mindful of first
responders and utility workers on the roadways.
Crews will be following all CDC guidelines pertaining to COVID-19 including physical
distancing. We urge the general public not to approach our crews.
ESTIMATED TIMES OF RESTORATION
I&M will continue to restore power to customers until 100% of customers are restored. I&M has
established estimated times of restoration for customers affected by the winter storm outages:
South Bend/Elkhart area:
- 75% restored: 11 p.m. Sunday
- 100% restored: 3 p.m. Monday
- 100% restored: 6 p.m. Sunday
Most customers will be restored before those times. See the section under “Stay Informed” for ways customers can check the status of outages in their area.
Additional crews from Fort Wayne, Muncie, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia are
assisting I&M crews and contractors based in South Bend/Elkhart and Southwest Michigan to restore power in the Michiana area.
I&M encourages customers to use the Indiana Michigan Power app to monitor the status of any outage affecting your home or business. IndianaMichiganPower.com/App
You can sign up for text and email alerts on the app or at IndianaMichiganPower.com/Alerts
See the location and status of outages using our outage map at IndianaMichiganPower.com/OutageMap
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