02/02/11 Northern Indiana Public Service Companyâ€™s (NIPSCO) personnel and electric distribution system are prepared for potential challenges posed by the winter storm forecast for today and into tonight across northern Indiana.Â
The company has taken specific measures to ensure its preparation, including:
- Opening the companyâ€™s emergency operations center in Merrillville, Ind.
- Scheduling extra work crews to handle system problems.
- Postponing scheduled work that would require equipment to be out of service.
- Putting work crews out in the field to monitor the system and respond quickly to any problems.
- Adding call center staff to minimize wait times. (Note: Emergency-related calls will take priority. Please use NIPSCO.com for billing-related matters during the storm.)
- Alerting neighboring utilities and states of potential need for backup support to restore power.Â
As always, NIPSCO will remain in contact with area public officials in the event potential problems arise.Â
If customers experience a power outage, they are encouraged to report the incident using the companyâ€™s automated phone system, by calling 1-800-464-7726 and following the prompts.Â Increased call volumes typically occur during storms, and the automated system is the quickest way for customers to report outages and avoid wait times.Â Customers may request a call back when power has been restored.Â
For up-to-date information, including estimated restoration times, customers are urged to visit NIPSCOâ€™s on-line Storm Center at www.nipsco.com/stormcenter and stay tuned to local media outlets.Â
During a storm, downed trees and ice can weigh down power lines, causing them to snap.Â For your safety, please stay away from any downed power lines. Always presume the downed power line is live and extremely dangerous. DO NOT TOUCH THE LINES.Â
Prepare Your Home For A Potential Storm-Related Outage
- Life support equipment â€“ If someone in your family requires life support equipment, make prior arrangements for a back-up power supply.
- Stay informed â€“ know what kind of weather is expected.
- Automatic garage door â€“ Learn how to open and close your door manually without power.
- Emergency kit â€“ Prepare a simple emergency kit to include flashlights, first aid kit, supply of non-perishable food items, three-day supply of bottled water, and a cellular phone.Â Â
In any storm event, the safety of the public as well as those working on the lines is the top priority. Before restoring service, NIPSCO must locate downed power lines and make sure electricity is no longer flowing through the wires.
NIPSCOâ€™s restoration process begins with repairing large transmission and distribution lines that supply electricity to large numbers of customers in large geographic areas.Â Repairs to other lines that serve smaller groups of customers canâ€™t be made until the larger lines feeding electricity to those areas are repaired.
If roads are impassible due to snow, the restoration process may be impacted in some areas until roads are clear.