Many Pickerington area residents still without power
Many Pickerington and Violet Township residents and businesses remained without power on July 3, days after storms and heavy winds hammered central Ohio.
According to Lancaster-based South Central Power Co., which provides energy to nearly all of Pickerington, about 730 of the company’s 34,301 Fairfield County customers remained without power as of July 3.
South Central’s website said approximately “57 co-op and contractor line crews and 21 tree crews are working as quickly, yet safely, as possible across the 24 counties served by South Central Power,” as of July 2. The website said power to homes and businesses in Canal Winchester should be restored by midnight, July 4, and most customers in the company’s other service areas should have power again by midnight, July 6.
American Electric Power of Ohio also reported July 3 that 15,303 of its 30,546 Fairfield County customers still had no power. AEP’s website said crews continue to work to restore power in affected areas.
The outages and downed trees occurred following a storm that hit central Ohio just before 5 p.m. Friday, June 29. According to reports, winds in the region hit speeds exceeding 80 mph.
After power was restored to some, a July 1 storm with winds of up to 50 mph hit the region.
According to local officials, AEP customers, many of whom live or operate businesses in Violet Township, have been most affected..
“The part of Pickerington that’s out right now is anybody who has AEP,” Pickerington City Council President Gavin Blair said July 2. “A lot of (Violet) Township has AEP and they’re still struggling.”
Violet Township’s Administrative Hall, where much of the township’s government operations are held, lost power June 29 and remained without electricity through business hours on July 2. By morning on July 3, power had been restored to the office, township officials said.
On July 2, Township engineer Greg Butcher said his crews already had put in about 20 hours of overtime since June 29.
“We worked Friday from about 6 p.m. to midnight opening any roads that were impacted,” Butcher said. “We had about 15 trees crossing roads, but we had it pretty much cleared by midnight Friday.”
Butcher said a “few more” trees came down Sunday night, but those had been addressed by the township in the hours following the storm. He added that the storms were less destructive than the ice storm of 2004 and the remnants of Hurricane Ike, which ripped through central Ohio in September 2008.
“I guess every four years we have an event,” he said. “Our strategy moving forward today and tomorrow is start cleaning up road right of ways and limbs that have fallen beside roads.
“That’ll last most of this week.”
In addition to Township Hall, Butcher said power remained out on July 3 in portions of the Summerfield subdivision. He added that township officials were considering if they had enough time and manpower to begin removing debris placed at curbsides by property owners.
“Those residents with power or smart phones can refer to the township website for additional cleanup information,” he said. “We are communicating with Fairfield County EMA (Emergency Management Agency) with respect to potential federal and state clean-up assistance, and we’re following the guidelines of the Violet Township debris management plan.”
Aside from residents who were left to deal with temperatures of 90 degrees or more with no electricity, local businesses also were trying to recover July 3.
Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce President Helen Mayle several restaurants and other businesses were hit hard, particularly in the north of Pickerington and Violet Township.
Among them, Mayle sad, were the Marcus Theatre, Orange Leaf Yogurt and Cold Stone Creamery, which are located along or near Route 256 on Pickerington’s north side.
“I talked to the owners of Orange Leaf and they lost everything,” Mayle said. “They were devastated. Cold Stone lost everything, too.
“Both said, ‘It’s 90-degree weather. It would’ve been monumental income.’”
The Drug Mart Shopping Plaza and Hunter’s Run also were commercial areas without power following the June 29 storm.
However, Mayle said, those restaurants that maintained or regained power were fairing well because many residents without power were dining out.
“Uno’s (Pizzeria) had a two-hour wait Friday after the storm,” she said.