New Castle News

January 9, 2014

Few lose power through extreme cold

By Staff
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Lawrence County managed fairly well through the arctic blast that hit the area this week.

Chuck Jackson, area manager for Penn Power, said the largest area affected is about 1,100 customers served by the Leesburg substation.

“We are working on the substation and had a portable substation in place,” he explained. And because of the high demand for power, Jackson continued, the portable station couldn’t keep up.

“We transferred the load to the New Wilmington substation and that worked out,” he said. The problem occurred about 8 p.m. Monday. By 10 p.m., electric had been restored.

Other than that, Jackson said, “I am aware of no more than 15 out in any one location,” throughout the two days of extreme cold temperatures.

In all, he said, no more than 200 area homes might have been affected, “but not in any one area.”

Generally, Jackson said, three or four homes served by the same transformer would lose power briefly.

“Sometimes that happens when people change to electric heat but don’t tell us,” Jackson said. “You need a different transformer when that happens.”

The New Castle Fire Department responded to 17 weather-related calls Tuesday. Most were for a “stand by” or were easily resolved, according to a firefighter.

Calls continued Wednesday, even though temperatures had warmed to the teens and low 20s.

Just before 1 p.m., firefighters were called to Jameson Hospital after a water line broke over a high-voltage switching panel. Firefighters remained on the scene while repairs were made.

About the same time, crews were called to Silver Oaks Nursing Home on Harbor Street after a power outage was reported.

That call came at 1:17 p.m. Firefighters said power was restored in about 30 minutes and the heat came back on.

The fire department also was called to a broken water line at the office of Lawrence County Children and Youth Services at the former Almira Home at 1001 E. Washington St.

Lawrence County administrator Jim Gagliano said a water line froze Tuesday night, causing a sprinkler head to pop off on the second floor, above the entrance, and flood the area, he said.

Gagliano said calls were made for repairing the sprinkler, mopping up and checking the boiler.

“Damages were limited,” he said. “The building remains operational — only the front entrance is roped off.”

Firefighters were also called after a water line leak developed at Golden Hill Nursing Home .