Your Extended Power Outage Might Not Be Just Due To A Storm

image of Downed power lines Hamilton Rd Columbus Ohio June 2012
Downed power lines Hamilton Rd Columbus Ohio June 2012

On Friday June 29th our area experienced a severe storm with 80 mph winds that knocked out power for over 600,000 American Electric Power (AEP) customers in Ohio and it took a week or more to get the power back on. AEP claimed the storm was more than their system could handle with the amount of damage not seen since the remnant of Hurricane Ike passed through in 2008. There might be another explanation as to why restoration is taking so long in recent years. Power companies seem to be more interested in profits over service and they want you to pay for their cost cutting.

The storm that blew on June 29th is called a derecho:

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And this is progress?

Back in September, we were hit with the remnants of Hurricane Ike mixing with a strong cold front. 75 mile per hour winds basically knocked out power to most people in the city and county. I was without power for 3 days and many others were out for up to a week after the storm. The electric company brought in hundreds of crews. I mention this because it seems 30 years ago the electric company was faster in restoring service after a bad storm.

My Grandmother gave me a book she had about the Blizzard of 1978 that pummeled our area that year. It was self published and contained personal stories from people who went through the storm then.

What was interesting was that the power went out at the beginning of the blizzard, and like for us, most of the stories noted that some power was restored the next day or two later. The two day outage also applied to people out in “the sticks” of the county. Crews would go down county roads with a snow plow to gain access to the power lines and repair them.

The Great Columbus Windstorm of 2008

I guess it had to be Karma because of my sick attempt at humor at the expense of Hurricane Ike.

He found out where I lived and put the smack down on me and the entire Central Ohio area on Sunday. We had 75 mph sustained winds for several hours on Sunday afternoon from a combination of the remnants of Ike and his homie – a wicked strong cold front coming from the west.

By dark, thousands of trees were down in the area and half a million people were without power. I posted a picture of the tree that fell in my front yard. The car to the left was just missed by a foot or two. Click on the image to see the full size.

With the so many people being out of power our friendly electric monopoly – American Electric Power – gave us grim news. Some of us wouldn’t have power back for up to 7 days.

To see how random it was, my building was out but the building next door had power as did the apartments across the street. Kroger was closed but the Speedway on 5th avenue was open. Corned Beef Hash is not that good cold. But I did luck out Monday night as the Taco Bell on 5th was open.

I found out that a flickering candle is irritating and causes a headache when trying to read. Also I plan on getting real candles or if they are scented ones they will all be the same scent. It smelled like I was in a cat house with all the different perfumes mixing together.

The picture on the left is the inside of my apartment on Monday night about midnight. The audio portion of the movie “Batman Begins” is pretty good. My MP3 player has FM radio on it so I could listen to the audio from WSYX which is ABC here in town. The only news I could get was the audio from WSYX. Oh and guys at Channel 6, you could deliver more news without having to say “6 on your side” every other sentence. And to all the other news geeks in Columbus – how can I check your website for the complete list of school closings if I don’t have power?????

My emergency flashlight lasted a day and I had to go a nearby laundry to recharge my cell phone.

Other stories on the news had whole neighborhoods getting together. They cleaned up the downed trees, secured damaged houses, and some had huge cook outs as people tried to empty fridges and freezers before the food went bad. On a nearby street, a sign was posted that said “Looters will be shot…” Yes, togetherness was the rule of the day.

Lucky for me my power came back on Tuesday afternoon. It is so nice to see TV again and check my e-mail. Roughing it is fun but not all the time. And I will never make fun of Hurricanes again.