Power restored for most people in Columbus
Updated: June 16, 2022, 8:29 p.m.
American Electric Power said all local residents who lost power from this week's storms and the intentional power outages that followed should have electricity by the end of Thursday.
As of Thursday morning, 2,793 AEP customers in Franklin County did not have power. The majority of those customers were in the Maize-Morse neighborhoods, just south of Morse Road and east of I-71.
AEP reported 31,758 customers did not have power throughout the state as of 8:15 a.m. on Thursday.
Power should be restored to all customers in Columbus at 11:59pm Thursday, according to AEP's estimated restoration times.
AEP said transmission lines in northern and southwest Columbus that bring power into the city were damaged on Monday by severe weather. The remaining transmission lines have become overloaded which has forced AEP to turn off power to targeted areas.
"The hot weather has created targeted areas of transmission overload. The way we had to address that is dropping distribution customers in that area," said AEP Vice President of Energy Delivery Operations Dave Bell said.
AEP Ohio Managing Director of Customer Experience and Distribution Technology Jon Williams said the outages emergency outages occurred to protect the integrity of the entire grid and to prevent a broader outage.
Some AEP customers who have lost power more than once could expect additional outages through Thursday due to the increased demand until the damaged transmission lines are repaired, Williams said.
AEP said it is not conducting rolling outages, he said.
Williams added that this is a "very, very unusual event" and not a sign of the fragility of the electric grid or the first of similar events to come.
Power has not been turned off to areas with major hospitals and critical care facilities, Williams said.
AEP is asking customers not to run dishwashers or washing machines during peak times of energy consumption from noon to 7 p.m. to help reduce the strain on the system, Williams said.
As of 1:11 p.m., around 87,560 AEP customers in Franklin County were without power, which was up from around 63,000 customers without power around 8 a.m. Throughout Ohio, AEP reported 144,155 customers were without power early Wednesday afternoon.
The company took customers offline on Tuesday or Wednesday to protect the system and prevent further outages.
"Our system was impacted by the severe storms last night, which knocked out some of our large transmission lines. Combined with impacts from the heat today, lines were overloaded and we were forced to take some customers offline to protect the system and reduce the risk of longer, widespread outages," AEP Ohio said in a Facebook post.
High winds and lightning on Monday night and Tuesday morning caused power outages throughout Central Ohio. The outages could last through Wednesday for some customers.
AEP officials said wind gusts reached up to 75 miles per hour and took down trees and power lines.
At the height of the storm, AEP said more than 155,000 customers were affected.
The storms came just as much of the Midwest and a swath of the South are facing a potentially dangerous and deadly heat wave, with temperatures that could reach record highs in some places and combine with humidity to make it feel like it’s 100 degrees or hotter in spots.
More than 100 million people are expected to be affected by mid-week.
Columbus Recreation and Parks on Tuesday opened cooling centers at five community centers through Thursday to provide residents shelter from the extreme heat.
The cooling centers are located at the following community centers:
- Barnett Community Center
- Beatty Community Center
- Douglas Community Center
- Glenwood Community Center
- Marion Franklin Community Center
Cities throughout the region were warning residents Tuesday to stay hydrated, remain indoors when possible and be aware of the health risks of high temperatures.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.