Power companies working on major outages as heat rises

Duke Energy staging area in Butler County

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Duke Energy staging area in Butler County

Duke Energy Ohio was working to restore power to 77,700 Ohio customers as of 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, and nearly half of the outages were located in the Middletown/northern Warren County area.

The power outage affected the Dorothy Lane Market in Springboro which has not had power since 5:58 p.m. Monday and has been closed all day Tuesday, according to spokeswoman Jessie Kuhn. She has not been given an ETA for restoration of power, adding they “are hopeful it’ll be soon.” Kuhn said the Springboro store was the only one affected by the storm.

Sally Thelen, Duke spokeswoman, said the power outages stemming from Monday’s widespread storms were among the worst storm outages since the June 2012 derecho storm.

ExploreRELATED: Tens of thousands still without power after strong storms

“It’s been very challenging due to the weather conditions,” she said.

Thelen said Duke Ohio crews are being reinforced with crews from Duke Energy Indiana and Duke Energy Carolinas, and the company is expecting additional crews from Michigan and Kentucky.

She said staging bases for line crews are being set up at the Butler County Fairgrounds in Hamilton and at Eastgate in Clermont County.

Thelen said the damage has been widespread with broken utility poles and downed trees. She said a substation near Springboro was damaged after a tree came down.

Thelen said crews are receiving safety briefings before each repair job, given the hot weather. They are being checked to make sure they are hydrated and that cold water is available on trucks and food is available at staging areas.

“We appreciate everyone’s patience during these circumstances and we’re doing as much as possible to restore power,” she said.

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Kroger on Yankee Road in Liberty Township closed and had multiple refrigerated trucks parks outside keeping items cool while their power was out Tuesday, June 14 after a storm caused damage and power outages throughout the area Monday. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Kroger on Yankee Road in Liberty Township closed and had multiple refrigerated trucks parks outside keeping items cool while their power was out Tuesday, June 14 after a storm caused damage and power outages throughout the area Monday. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

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Kroger on Yankee Road in Liberty Township closed and had multiple refrigerated trucks parks outside keeping items cool while their power was out Tuesday, June 14 after a storm caused damage and power outages throughout the area Monday. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

National Weather Service says Monday’s storm was not a derecho

Allen Randall, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, said Monday night’s storm was a “higher-end severe wind event” with some wind reaching 60 mph and a few isolated winds between 60 and 70 mph. But unlike the derecho of 2012, he said Monday’s storm did not have the amount of tree damage or number of power outages that was experienced in the region.

Randall said people need to be concerned with the excessive heat that will be in the region going into Thursday. At that time, a front will be coming through to bring relief from the excessive heat. He urged that people stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids along with people who are part of vulnerable populations seek out cooling centers to avoid the heat.

According to the National Weather Service website, the derecho event on June 29, 2012 stretched from Iowa to the Mid-Atlantic coast with wind speeds of 60 to 80 mph. The storm travelled 700 miles in 12 hours.

That derecho knocked down trees and cut power to more than 3.7 million customers, including 1 million Ohio customers. It took power companies more than week to address the outages and restore power, according to the National Weather Service.

Springboro

As of noon Tuesday, about 900 homes were still without power in Springboro.

City Manager Chris Pozzuto said the outage also included businesses in the West Central Avenue commercial district after a downed tree damaged a Duke Energy transformer and transmission line to a substation outside of the city limits. He said 85% to 90% percent of the power has been restored.

“We’ve been in constant communication with Duke Energy and we know they’re working on it,” he said.

The city has also set up a cooling center in the community room of the Springboro City Building, 320 W. Central Ave.

He said the Middletown area and portions of northern Warren County were hit the hardest from the storm.

Franklin

City officials reported a lightning strike in the 500 block of Kristine Lane during storm. As of 12:30 p.m., there were 2,500 homes without power, said City Manager Jonathan Westendorf.

“Traffic signals are up and businesses are open now,” he said.

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Vehicles had to reroute around several downed trees on Riverside drive in St. Clair Township after storms with heavy rain and strong winds caused power outages and down trees and limbs around Butler County Monday evening, June 13, 2022. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Vehicles had to reroute around several downed trees on Riverside drive in St. Clair Township after storms with heavy rain and strong winds caused power outages and down trees and limbs around Butler County Monday evening, June 13, 2022. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Combined ShapeCaption
Vehicles had to reroute around several downed trees on Riverside drive in St. Clair Township after storms with heavy rain and strong winds caused power outages and down trees and limbs around Butler County Monday evening, June 13, 2022. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Monroe, Atrium Medical Center

In Monroe, Public Works Director Gary Morton said traffic signals were out on Ohio 63 at Main Street much of Tuesday, and that was causing a major traffic backup. Duke Energy was working to restore power there overnight and throughout the day. Monroe crews were out in the city cleaning up debris, though there were no major reports of damage, Morton said.

As folks also deal with a stifling heat wave in addition to the lack of power, Atrium Medical Center in Warren County has opened its auditorium, located on the fifth floor of the hospital’s Professional Building, as a cooling area for residents.

With the ongoing power outages, the hospital anticipates an influx of people who will need oxygen support, officials said. Outlets will be available at Atrium for those who need to plug in portable oxygen concentrators. Atrium has power and hospital operations are running normal, officials said.

Other cooling stations in Warren County include Carlisle Town Hall, 760 W. Central Ave.; Franklin Fire Department, 45 E. Fourth St.; Franklin-Springboro Public Library, 44 East St. and Springboro Administration Building, 320 W. Central Ave. The cooling centers provide residents will cool air, and a place to rest and recharge their electrical devices, according to the Warren County Emergency Management Agency. They do not provide overnight lodging, medical care or food.

Waynesville

By Tuesday afternoon, only Church Street remained without power in Waynesville.

Village Manager/Police Chief Gary Copeland said there were few trees downed during Monday’s storm. But the storm did reveal another problem as a result of AES Ohio purchasing Dayton Power & Light. Copeland said elderly and disabled residents who were previously “red flagged” in the event of a power outage were not contacted Monday for high priority restoration.

He said the village will use social media to remind those residents to contact AES so they are aware.

Lebanon

Lebanon, which owns its own power system, lost about 20% of customers during the five-hour outage that was rapidly restored, said Shawn Coffey, city electric director.

He has been with the city for 21 years and said it was the worst storm since 2008. Coffey said there were severe lightning strikes as well as wind and tree damage in the city Monday.

On Tuesday, Lebanon sent a three-person power crew to assist the city of Hamilton in restoring power.

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Carlisle struggling with power, water

Most of the small Warren County city of Carlisle was still without power as of 11 a.m. Tuesday, in the wake of Monday night’s storms, City Manager Julie Duffy said.

While the city escaped any catastrophic damage, most of the city was also without water as most of the residents are on private wells and rely on electricity to power their home water pumps.

Duffy said people can come to Town Hall and Roscoe Roof Park to fill water containers for drinking water as well as for flushing toilets.

Montgomery Avenue remained closed due to a downed power line, Duffy said. She said the rest of the city’s streets are cleared as firefighters and public works crews worked overnight to clear debris.

Carlisle firefighters also provided mutual aid for a house fire on Greentree Road in Turtlecreek Twp. as other departments were already responding to incidents in their communities.

The city has opened Town Hall as a cooling center, and Village Station Bar & Grill is also operating as a cooling center. Duffy said residents who have medications requiring refrigeration can bring them to Town Hall or to the police station if necessary. She is also asking residents to check on their neighbors.

Power companies at work

There are more than 40 crews from AES-Ohio and AES-Indiana working to fix downed power lines and a substation in Bellefontaine, according to Mary Ann Kabel, AES director of corporate communications. Kabel said crews worked through the night repairing substantial damage to AES equipment and downed power lines.

“We’ve made steadfast progress in less than 12 hours,” she said. “About 38,000 (AES) customers were without power at the peak of the storm.”

Kabel said 80% of the power has been restored and abut 9,000 customers were still without power before 11 a.m. today.

With the hot weather coming today, Kabel said safety is number one for AES crews, and that includes being well-hydrated and taking all safety precautions.

She said widespread outages such as the one that was experienced Monday night are harder to get power restored to customers. Some outages could affect a handful of customers, while others could affect a portion of a city with hundreds of customers.

“We have to address each outage one at a time,” she said.

Preble County

Preble County officials said the storm damage was equal across the county and everyone was touched by the storm.

“We had minor damage and some downed trees,” said David Anderson, director of Preble County’s Emergency Management Agency. “The fire departments and township trustees cleared much of it up before dark.”

Anderson said no roads were closed and there have been no requests for cooling centers.

As of 9 a.m. Tuesday, there were 247 AES customers there without power.

Staff Writer Rick McCrabb contributed to this report.

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