It was Duke Energy’s biggest outage since 2012, Kroger said. The company had 1,100 crews working to restore power to its southwestern Ohio and northern Kentucky service area. Kroger said Butler County was “ground zero” for damage.
As of Monday night, there were more than 49,000 Duke Energy customers without power. The county’s second-largest utility, Butler Rural Electric Cooperative, saw 3,100 customers lose power.
The City of Hamilton serves most of its own residents and announced at 8 p.m. Wednesday that all power had been restored.
But for Duke Energy, the primary goal after any major outage is to restore power “…to public health and safety facilities, and to get as many customers back online in the safest and most as fast as possible,” Kroger said.
Duke Energy then prioritizes repairing transmission lines, then distribution lines, Kroger said. Transmission lines carry electricity from power plants to substations, where distribution lines then carry electricity from the substation to the consumer.
“During an outage as large as this, we had teams working on [transmission lines and distribution lines] simultaneously,” Kroger said. But, the size of the storm has caused further delays in restoration efforts.
“After putting the transmission lines back in some of these big pockets, the rest of the damage was so isolated,” Kroger said. Crews often repaired distribution lines that only restored power to five customers at a time.
Following this week’s storm in Columbus, energy provider AEP and the state’s high-voltage grid operator, PJM Interconnection, coordinated to intentionally shut down several overstretched transmission lines, according to Matt Schilling, spokesman for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.
Kroger confirmed that Duke Energy did not experience any intentional outages in Butler County or the rest of their service areas.