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Thousands still without power amid bitter cold

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Indianapolis-area power companies called in hundreds of out-of-town workers, many from out of state, to repair downed lines amid Monday’s record-setting cold.

Despite the added help, it could be until Wednesday or even Thursday for some Indianapolis Power & Light Co. customers to get their power back, said Brandi Davis-Handy, a spokeswoman for the utility.

About half of the 65,000 IPL customers who lost power after Sunday’s snow storm had electricity again as of 10 a.m. Monday.  But more than 17,000 still lacked power late Monday night.

About 275 outside utility workers helped IPL crews Monday.

Scattered throughout Indiana, about 8,000 Duke Energy Indiana customers lacked power Monday morning after the storm knocked out an original 38,000 homes. That number had dwindled to 3,300 by late Monday night, with more than 1,800 of those in Hamilton County.

Both companies said they are struggling with keeping their workers safe in sub-zero temperatures as they work on power lines, which is making repairs take longer.

Workers go out in proper weather gear, said IPL’s Davis-Handy, but “even with that, it’s a concern.”

The utilities sent out requests to other power companies to send workers to help—a fairly common practice after storms. On top of having extra hands to work on power lines, the boosted work force allowed employees to rotate in and out of the cold more frequently.

Duke and IPL, combined, pulled in roughly 400 extra workers from other power companies in Indiana, as well as Ohio and Kentucky.

Indianapolis and surrounding comunities have set up numerous shelters where people without power could seek shelter.
 

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