Power Out on Cold, Windy Night in Putnam County

Televisions went out during prime time, furnace fans and sump pumps stopped and lanterns and generators went on in Putnam County during a power outage Wednesday night.

An Ameren high-voltage transmission line went down between Hennepin and Granville, darkening Hennepin, at least part of Granville and other parts of Putnam County shortly before 9 p.m. The NewsTribune received reports of power also being out in Mark and McNabb for a couple of hours Wednesday.

Some residents reported brown-out conditions followed by complete outage during part of the event before restoration before 11 p.m.

Warming centers were opened at McNabb Fire Department and the county’s emergency management agency building in former steelworkers’ hall in Hennepin, according to Putnam County Board member Chauntelle Biagi-Bruer.

“With temperatures at dangerous lows tonight, please be careful and use the warming centers if you need them,” she said in a Facebook post that was shared several times.

Granville resident and NewsTribune contributor Ron Bluemer said it had been 43 years since he’d experienced a cold-weather outage like Wednesday’s, and that one was limited to his subdivision. Another Granville resident told the NewsTribune she tried turning on a gas stove, which didn’t work, and then got a gas fireplace to work.

“We kept warm using candles while the power was out. Only my laptop was working off battery power but I couldn’t connect to the Internet,” Bluemer said in an email. “A few of my lights with CFL bulbs stayed on but were dim during the outage. No electricity for the furnace or sump pump. I have a small generator but it was so cold I would have had to move it outside from my garage to prevent carbon monoxide from building up.”

Ameren sent crews to isolate and bypass the wire, the NewsTribune was told.

“We had an outage that was first reported a little before 9 p.m. last night. It impacted a little more than 2,000 customers,” said Stacy Shangraw of Ameren said this morning. “The outage was due to a downed wire. Most of the customers were restored by 10:30 p.m., but about 300 were remaining and were not restored until about 2:30 this morning.”

As of 7 a.m., Shangraw said she didn’t know exactly what happened to the wire or exactly what repairs were made.

When the power went out, Putnam County sheriff’s dispatcher Terrie Zilm of Hennepin drove around town to see how bad the outage was, and then dropped in at the county courthouse to help if needed.

The sheriff’s office was running on back-up power part of Wednesday night. Zilm was back on the job on her shift early this morning.

In Mark, Taylor Made Machining workers and managers were dealing with side effects this morning.

“We’re having a hard time getting our computerized machines back up and running,” said Frank Niewinski.

He said all but three of the 15 CNC machines were back online at 7:45 a.m.

Source: News Tribune