Utility crews arrive to help I&M restore power

Utility crews arrived in Fort Wayne on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, to assist in restoring power.
Utility crews arrived in Fort Wayne on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, to assist in restoring power.(WPTA)
Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 10:09 AM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) - More the 1,200 utility crews have arrived in Fort Wayne to help Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) restore power to approximately 20,000 customers still without power after Monday’s derecho.

In a 4 p.m. update Wednesday, I&M says they have restored power to about 50% of the 40,700 customers who lost service, mostly in southwest Fort Wayne and Waynedale.

The crews include line workers, forestry experts, assessors, and contractors, I&M says. Help is on the way from I&M’s sister company, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and from Kentucky, Michigan Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee after they complete restoring power in other areas, they will travel to Fort Wayne to assist in restoring power.

The crews, numbering over 1,000 workers, continue to face issues in restoring power, I&M says, including large trees and debris blocking roadways and on power lines, significant damage to power poles that will require extensive repair, and damage to equipment in hard-to-reach locations. Crews are also having to take additional precautions and breaks because of the extreme heat and humidity.

Winds up to 98 mph – classified by the NWS as a derecho – caused many trees and limbs to fall, breaking utility poles, damaging equipment, and taking down power lines. Crews have found more than 140 broken or damaged poles and 16 damaged transformers as they continue to assess the widespread damage. They say the number of fallen trees is also hampering restoration efforts, as crews must clear trees from roads just to access equipment to begin repairs in some areas.

The estimated restoration times are when crews expect the entire area to be restored, but I&M says most customers will have power restored before the estimated time.

I&M power outage update at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, June 15, 2022.
I&M power outage update at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, June 15, 2022.(Staff)

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