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Power restored in Amherst (UPDATE)

Electrical power to Amherst and surrounding was restored after 9 hours Wednesday.

  • 22959819-1

    Workers try to repair power lines in Amherst on Wednesday, March 7.

    BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE

  • 22959822-2

    Workers try to repair power lines in Amherst on Wednesday, March 7.

    BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE

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AMHERST — Township residents were without power for much of Wednesday.

FirstEnergy had planned an outage for repairs at about 1 p.m. Wednesday, but a resident reported losing power as early as 6:30 a.m. Power was fully restored about 9:30 p.m.

Mark Durbin, a spokesman for FirstEnergy, said a porcelain insulator to a 69,000-volt transmission line was damaged during the winter storms that swept through the area March 1, and that caused intermittent outages throughout the city and outlying areas.

According to Durbin, before power was fully restored, repairs took longer than anticipated and FirstEnergy worked with township officials to restore power as soon as possible.

“Sometimes when you de-engerize the line, like we did the insulator, and re-energize it, you find some other things you need to repair as well,” he said.

Laurel Beam, an Amherst resident, said her power was out as early as 6:30 a.m. and fluctuated during the rest of the day until 7:30 p.m.

While out shopping with her brother, Beam said, all the power at businesses started to go out one by one near North Leavitt and Cooper Foster Park roads. When she called FirstEnergy, she was only able to navigate through an automated messaging system. Beam said she was glad the power was back, but she was frustrated that she and other residents had to endure what they did.

“In this day and age I don’t think there was any excuse for what was going on today,” Beam said.

 

Updated 9:35 p.m.

Power was restored to Amherst east of downtown after lines damaged in last week’s snowstorm were repaired.

***

Residents of Amherst and surrounding areas have been without electrical power most of Wednesday as  FirstEnergy worked to repair an insulator on the line delivering power from FirstEnergy to a municipal substation.

FirstEnergy had scheduled an outage for the repairs for 1 p.m., but residents were reporting outages as early as 8:30 a.m. and by 11:30 the power was turned off in the city. 

“It actually started earlier than expected,” Amherst Mayor Mark Costilow said shortly before noon.

Mark Durbin, a spokesman for FirstEnergy, said earlier Wednesday that a porcelain insulator to a 69,000-volt transmission line was damaged during the winter storms that swept through the area Thursday night, and that caused intermittent outages throughout the city and outlying areas.

Costilow said the power outages were particularly severe this morning. Bob Stitak, who lives on Chestnut Lane, estimates the power went on and off six times while he was on the phone with a Chronicle reporter.

“I’m really upset,” he said. “This can’t be good for our electronics.”

A city crew discovered the damage to the insulator and then alerted FirstEnergy to make the necessary repairs.

“There is no way to make this repair other than to disconnect the power,” Durbin said. “Our goal is to have it back on by 4 o’clock, if not sooner.”

At 5:30 p.m. electrical service still had not been restored.

Amherst schools dismissed at the regular time, but  the school was without phone service most of the afternoon.

The second shift for Amherst police was called in early, Costilow said, and the fire departments has extra staffing as well. Police ask that residents not call with power-related questions, instead sending text messages at 440-988-4422. Updates will be available on the police Facebook page and through the Wireless Emergency Notification System.

Some traffic lights have battery backup, but for the ones that don’t, a reminder: Non-working lights are to be treated as four-way stop signs.

The pool at Mercy Health & Recreation Center is closed until further notice, but the rest of the facility will remain open with limited access to equipment based on power needs.

Contact Bruce Walton at (440) 329-7123 or bwalton@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @BruceWalton.



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