Fried electronics, commercial equipment, and profit
Duke says auto accident caused outage, but times don't add up and Duke may not pay for damage if they can attribute the auto accident as cause. Won't provide report, or customer claim rights.
Loveland, Ohio - The economic hit to the city’s central business and residential core is somewhat un-estimable, however anecdotal reports show cost is high.
This is the third such power loss in Loveland’s core in six months. Different in impact this time however, was the powerful surge of apparent high volts, sent into businesses and homes.
It was a little after 12:00 noon on Monday when what were described as explosions rumbled through the Loveland Madeira Road business corridor near the Loveland Primary and Elementary school campus and the corner of West Loveland and Elm. Businesses and homes from Kroger into Historic Downtown went dark. In some cases, power was not restored until eight hours later. Main Street businesses and homes, Wall Street businesses and homes, were also affected. The power was out along East Loveland Avenue and at the Loveland Early Childhood Center on Loveland-Miamiville Rd.
Home businesses in the area were shut down without electricity and Internet, telecommuting employees, which are many in the area, took a forced half day off, to later work late into the night catching up.
Loveland city hall lost power, however they have a back-up generator… oops, when Duke Energy re-connected them the A.C. went cahoots and was still not operating at 8:30 PM Tuesday evening, thirty-two hours later. The warm council chamber was filled with portable, pedestal fans for the council meeting. No hot debate, but the shortest city council meeting in memory, commented several in attendance. A silver lining? There is a report of computer damage at city hall.
On Wall Street the power was not completely restored until 8 PM Monday evening. A woman walking her dog later in the evening, chatting with nearby, neighbors took note of what she heard. “One dishwasher will not work, one TV, one refrigerator, two microwaves, two having problems with their central air.”
One Wall Street resident called the fire department after he saw sparks surround his TV when the surge spiked throughout the neighborhood.
Historic Downtown went dark. One business woman because of the large plate glass windows and sunlight was able to continue seeing clients. Others, couldn’t adapt so easily. Restaurants closed during the lunch time rush and scrambled to protect fresh produce and the like. Those offices relying on the Internet of things hooked to a modem were out of commission for the duration, which is eternity on a return to work Monday.
Along Loveland Madeira Road, two schools stayed open despite darkness. One business got a possible bill for an air conditioner unit of $2,500 on Tuesday, and the sales lost on Monday added to make a double whammy. One retail business in the corridor got out a pen and paper to record cash sales for about 80 customers, but estimate a loss of $2,000 in otherwise sales. They recorded stock keeping unit (SKU) numbers of what sales they did succeed in making, but will now have to take all the paperwork notes and record the inventory, sales tax, SKU’s, etc, by hand into their computer. Another quite large retailer scrambled employees to implement pre-established electric outage procedures, stationed an employee in the parking lot to direct customers to stores in other communities. The manager, off of the top of her head said maybe $2,000 in lost sales, but started rethinking the figure skyward as she talked about the actual very busy time of day they spent without power.
It is reported that the UDF store lost it's ice cream stocks.
A convenience store owner said his electric panel was damaged and it cost $2,000 to repair. He said his insurance company will pay, but after he pays a $1,000 deductible.
Friday afternoon, the infamous 4-sided town clock in the Historic Downtown was still helpless and out of time.
What was cause
On Monday afternoon, at the Loveland Post Office where Main Street was closed until late in the afternoon, Loveland Police Chief Tim Sabransky said he had received no information about what caused the widespread outage, but suspected it began overhead at the intersection when a high voltage line snapped. Four, Duke trucks were on the scene repairing the downed wire. On Tuesday evening he said he still had no new information other than he still suspected that high voltage wire supplying current to transformers, snapped, and fell to lower hanging, lower voltage lines that distribute 110 and 220 volt power to homes and businesses in the area. Sabransky speculated that the very high voltage then surged into the neighborhood. He also said he knew of no wreck in the area that caused the outage to begin, and there was no wreck near the post office to cause the wire to snap.
There was an auto accident in Miami Township outside of Loveland at 11:03 AM. The lights went off in Loveland an hour later.
A Duke spokesman, said that the loud explosions heard throughout the city was the distribution system protecting itself with fuses “opening up,” not transformers blowing up. He said he was not aware of any transformers that needed replacement or repair, also ruling them out as the cause. An Elm Street businessman said one of the explosions was just outside, and electronic parts fell into the side yard.
The Duke spokesperson, said later it all “likely started” as a result of a car accident, but could provide no further details. He said that when these events occur, the system is engineered to re-route supply around the trouble spot, isolating the outage to the smallest possible area very cautiously, to prevent injury to Duke employees. He later said that Duke dispatchers told him that initially, 461 customers lost power, and that when the re-routing and isolating of the electric began, they had to shut off another 530. He said that 460 customers were restored at 2:56 PM, and the remainder at 3:40 PM. Many are reporting to Loveland Magazine however, that they were without power as late as 8 PM.
The explanation was later changed to say that when power was being “re-opened to the initial 460 customers,” it caused the additional 560 homes and businesses to lose power.
Duke says they may not have to provide their incident reports, saying, "I'm not sure that's something we normally give to the public. They could not explain the time disparity.
How to file a claim for damages
The public utility also would not provide any exact claim information to Loveland Magazine or provide information about where it could be found. A spokesperson said she thought it may be on a "external web page." Another said it could be found on the Web Site of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, but could not provide exact details of where on the web site it could be found. There is general information on the commission web site about consumer protection, but none about filing claims against Duke, or consumer rights, regarding damages.
Another Duke spokesperson said later Tuesday that Duke is still investigating. She said the auto accident may have been a “potentially contributing factor.”
Both people speaking for Duke Energy said, individual customers should call their customer service number (1-800-544-6900) to file claims, however of the many options offered when reaching the number, none are for filing a claim for damaged appliances or equipment. Also, there is no information on Duke Energy Ohio's web site to tell customers how to file a claim or that customers have a right to do so.
Loveland Magazine later learned that once you reach the customer service number, repeatedly dialing "0" will eventually put you through to an actual person, by-passing all of the tele-commercials on the Duke service line. They will then transfer you on to their third-party claims administrators.
However, Loveland Magazine discovered Tuesday a more direct line to the company that handles claims against Duke. It is, 1-855-398-2370.
Customers should be prepared with your account number, social security number, date of birth, etc. Once you give them a general or detailed nature of the damages, you will be told that you will receive a call from a claims adjuster within five days who will determine if Duke is responsible and if they will compensate the financial loss.