NIPSCO not sending local crews east at this point

NIPSCO workers will stay in northern Indiana to repair potential local weather damage.

Posted on Oct. 30, 2012 at 1:00 a.m.

Despite an urgent call for utility workers to help with expected problems on the East Coast, Northern Indiana Public Service Company is holding off on any decisions involving local repair crews for fear of weather problems in northern Indiana.

A spokesperson for NIPSCO said they have delayed any possible plans to send crews to the east coast for fear that strong winds spinning off from Hurricane Sandy could cause electrical outages in northern Indiana, said a spokesperson for the company.

NIPSCO is aware of forecasts suggesting high winds tonight and Tuesday could be strongest in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties, which is part of the utility company’s service area.

NIPSCO encourages its customers to report power outages online at NIPSCO.com/OutageCenter, via phone at 800-4NIPSCO (800-464-7726) or from your smart phone or other mobile device at m.NIPSCO.com. Keep abreast of outages at NIPSCO.com/OutageCenter and the utility’s social media pages at Facebook.com/NIPSCO and Twitter.com/NIPSCO.

“We’re evaluating and assessing what our needs will be first before we determine if we send anybody out east,” said Angie Nelson a spokesperson for the utility company.

Nelson said officials are meeting Monday and could make a decision later in the day or Tuesday.

Indiana Michigan Power will be sending about 40 personnel from the Michiana area to assist another utility company with possible damage from Hurricane Sandy. The crews consist of people from the Elkhart, South Bend and southwest Michigan area. The personnel include power line personnel, tree crews, supervisors and damage assessors that will be going to West Virginia to help out Appalachian Power. They share the same parent company, American Electric Power Co., Inc.

Indiana Michigan Power spokesman David Mayne said his company frequently sends help and has a mutual aid agreement with several other utility companies. The crews could be redeployed somewhere else after the hurricane hits and they can asses where the most damage is.

“When it’s over we’ll see what kind of damage Hurricane Sandy does around the nation,” he said.

Mayne said it’s not unusual for their company to be requested during major storms. They went out to West Virginia in July and to Connecticut last year during major storms.

Truth reporter Zina Kumok contributed to this story.

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