MERRILLVILLE, Ind. – Sunday’s damaging storms left its mark on northern Indiana, resulting in more than 75,000 NIPSCO electric customers losing service. As of 5 p.m. CT, more than 90 percent of affected customers have been restored and approximately 6,400 remain without power.
The majority of the remaining outages are expected to be restored by Wednesday night, Nov. 20, with some outages in the hardest hit areas extending into Thursday. As repairs continue, NIPSCO will be able to provide more refined restoration times.
All available NIPSCO crews, with assistance from support contractors from neighboring states, continue to respond to the effects of the severe weather, which carried wind gusts up to 86 miles per hour reported in some areas.
“This storm has posed a challenge for many of our communities, and our thoughts are with all those affected, especially those dealing with the effects of the Midwest tornadoes,” said Keith Wooldridge, NIPSCO’s senior vice president of field operations. “Because the damage is very widespread, we’ve brought in all available resources to address the repairs.”
940 separate incidents still require attention from repair crews, and current assessments indicate that the storm damage has resulted in widespread damage, including: three damaged transmission towers, more than 150 broken poles, numerous downed lines and broken cross arms and hundreds of downed trees and limbs.
Monticello, Crown Point, Lowell, Cedar Lake, Gary and Valparaiso are among the communities hit hardest with storm damage.
Storm Restoration Process
· NIPSCO repairs high voltage transmission lines and substations (and re-route power where possible), which provide power to the largest number of customers. Without repairing this part of the system first, the smaller electric lines connected to homes and businesses can’t be energized.
· Priorities shift to restore power to facilities most critical to public safety and health –including hospitals, police and fire stations, water lift stations and communication systems.
· Crews are then disbursed to repair service lines that will bring power back to the largest amount of customers the quickest – including major lines that feed power to densely-populated neighborhoods and other rural/municipal electric companies.
· Finally, NIPSCO is able to make repairs to electric service affecting smaller neighborhoods or outages that impact one or two individual customers.
Safety First – Stay Away from Downed Power Lines
Most important to your safety is to avoid downed power lines, damaged poles or other hazardous situations. Every downed wire should be treated as though it is a live wire. Report them to NIPSCO immediately.
Residents are also encouraged to drive safely when approaching any NIPSCO field employee or contractor vehicles working to restore power in the area.
Reporting an Outage or Downed Power Line
If customers have not yet reported an outage, they can do so in a few different ways:
1. From your smart phone or other mobile device – Search NIPSCO and your device will be automatically directed to our mobile site where you will find a button on the main page to report an outage.
2. On your computer – Visit NIPSCO.com/OutageCenter <http://www.NIPSCO.com/OutageCenter> and enter some basic information about your location.
3. Via phone – Call 1-800-4NIPSCO (1-800-464-7726) and follow the automated prompts. You can ask to receive a call back when power has been restored.
Regular updates regarding the current number of customers affected, where outages are located and when power is expected to be restored can be found in a variety of ways, including:
· NIPSCO.com/OutageCenter <http://www.nipsco.com/OutageCenter> –Find current information on the status of power outages and estimated restoration times.
· m.nipsco.com – View the same outage map and details on NIPSCO.com from your mobile device.
· Facebook.com/NIPSCO <https://www.facebook.com/nipsco> or Twitter.com/NIPSCO <https://twitter.com/NIPSCO> – Follow NIPSCO’s progress through popular social media channels to view photos and power restoration updates.
NIPSCO, with headquarters in Merrillville, Ind., is one of the seven energy distribution companies of NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI). With more than 786,000 natural gas customers and 457,000 electric customers across the northern third of Indiana, NIPSCO is the largest natural gas distribution company, and the second largest electric distribution company, in the state. NiSource distribution companies serve 3.8 million natural gas and electric customers primarily in seven states. More information about NIPSCO is available at www.nipsco.com <www.nipsco.com> .