Some Butler County residents went more than 50 hours without power this week

Severe storm caused outages on hottest days of year so far.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Middletown resident Duane Gordon said his home was without power from the initial outage on Monday until around 8 p.m. Wednesday after severe weather trounced Butler County on Monday night.

Tens of thousands of utility customers lost service at that same time — during and ahead of days of high heat.

“All of the outages that were storm related that were able to be fixed by our crews have been fixed,” said Casey Kroger, a spokesperson for Duke Energy. Remaining outages are a result of damage on the consumer-side, she said. Duke Energy has more than 133,000 customers in Butler County.

Gordon’s Middletown neighborhood from 4th to 14th avenues along South Main Street was one of the final major outages to be restored. He said his family lost all food left in the fridge and estimated that temperatures on the second floor of his home nearly reached 100 degrees.

The official temperatures for the region were 94 degrees on Monday, 95 degrees on Tuesday and Wednesday, and 93 on Thursday.

This was Duke Energy’s largest outage since 2012, Kroger said. The company had 1,100 crews working to restore power in its southwest Ohio and northern Kentucky service area. Kroger said Butler County was the “ground zero” for damage.

On Monday night, there were more than 49,000 Duke energy customers without power. The county’s next largest provider, Butler Rural Electric Cooperative, had 3,100 customers lose power.

The City of Hamilton serves most of its own residents and announced at 8 p.m. Wednesday all power had been restored.

But for Duke Energy, the primary focus after any major outage is to restore the power “... to public health and safety facilities, and to get the greatest number of customers back online as safely and quickly as possible,” Kroger said.

Duke Energy then prioritizes repairing transmission lines and then distribution lines, Kroger said. Transmission lines carry electricity from powerplants to substations, where the distribution lines then carry electricity from the substation to the consumer.

“In an outage as significant as this, we had crews working on [transmission lines and distribution lines] simultaneously,” Kroger said. But, the size of the storm caused further delays in restoration efforts.

“After we got the transmission lines back up in some of those big pockets, the rest of the damage was so isolated,” Kroger said. Crews were often fixing distribution lines that would only restore power to five customers at a time.

As a result of the storm this week in Columbus, energy provider AEP and the state’s high voltage grid manager PJM Interconnection coordinated to intentionally shut off service to several overly-stressed transmission lines, according to Matt Schilling, a spokesperson for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

Kroger confirmed that Duke Energy had no intentional outages in Butler county or the rest of their service areas.

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