Local News

Louisville Gas and Electric officials say this weekend’s wind storm has caused the worst power outage in the area’s history. More than 200,000 LG&E customers were still without service Monday afternoon, and power company officials say it could be ten to fourteen days before all power is restored.

At the peak outage, LG&E vice president Chris Herman says 75% of its customers were without power, just over 300,000. He said Monday that 68-percent of the company’s substations need some sort of repair, and the damage to substations, circuits, and power lines extends throughout the county. Herman says families and businesses should prepare for a long wait before service returns.

“I think people should be planning for the long, extended period,” says Herman. “I think we’re looking at a community-wide, extreme situation. People should make their best judgments based on that.”

Meanwhile, more than 100 Kentucky National Guard troops and 15 Louisville Water Company employees have joined Public Works employees to help clear downed trees, staff drop-off sites
for storm debris and help direct traffic at intersections where traffic signals are not working.

Louisville International Airport is operating, but the control tower is running on generators. A full fleet of TARC buses is operating, but passengers should expect some delays because of detours around blocked streets.

Power has been restored to the city’s hospitals, but most of the city’s police stations are still without electricity. Winds Sunday were recorded as high as 75 miles per hour as remnants of Hurricane Ike traveled northward.

EO.N. U.S., LG&E’s parent company, had previously sent 250 workers to the Gulf Coast to help with recovery efforts there. Those workers are still in Louisiana and Texas, but have been called back to Kentucky.

EO.N. President and CEO Vic Staffieri says they aren’t expected help from neighbors.

“Because of the wide range of the storm this time, with the problems in the Gulf, where neighboring utilities were sending folks down to the Gulf in the wake of Hurricane Gustav, and then given the widespread destruction we experienced yesterday, all of our requests for mutual assistance have been refused,” says Staffieri.

He says EO.N. crews working in the Gulf should be back in Louisville by Wednesday.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation."