Three days with no power

It was another day without power for thousands of people throughout Michiana, most of whom have had no electricity since Monday night.

Thursday afternoon I&M reported more than 2,200 customers still powerless in South Bend. However, the power company says 100 percent of South Bend customers will have their lights back on by midnight, June 28.

There are still 56 I&M customers in Elkhart who still have not been serviced, as well as 44 customers in Michigan. Both Elkhart and Michigan customers are supposed to have full power restored by midnight, Thursday.

As of Thursday afternoon, NIPSCO reported 456 customers without power in the immediate area, in addition to 3,100 across all of Northern Indiana.

Dick Peters lives on Twykenham Dr. just south of Cleveland Rd. in South Bend. His house lost power at around 8:00 p.m. Monday when the storm first hit. Peters toughed it out that very first night without power, but he and his wife have since been staying with their in laws across town.

"We'd just like to get back to our house, our own bed, our food, all the stuff that we take for granted like charging a phone," Peters added.

Thursday morning Peters returned to his house to throw away some of the food he and his wife had stored in their freezer with extra ice bags. He said they hoped the power would come back on and the food wouldn't go bad, but now that it has been three days it is time to pitch the perishables.

An I&M crew spent Thursday along Twykenham replacing downed wires.

"Typically they've done a great job getting it done within the first 24 hours but this has been different so we are shocked that it's this long but we understand the circumstances," said Peters.

Since the storm rolled through Monday evening I&M has had crews working 16 hour shifts trying to get power restored as quickly as possible.

"The outages are scattered, we did have a lot of poles break, a lot of wire down," said I&M representative Erica Putt, "So outages are scattered which makes it a little more difficult to get power restored.

The company first repairs lines with the most customers on them. In total, I&M has more than 500 people working in the South Bend area, including crews from Fort Wayne, Muncie and Michigan and locally contracted crews.

Total repair time varies depending on the extent of damage incurred. This time, 24 poles were damaged in South Bend. With each pole replacement taking anywhere from three to four hours, it is a slow process to get the lines working again.

But for thousands of people who have had the lights turn back on in the past few days, I&M workers are doing their job.

Bob Mitzman lives north of Cleveland Rd. and lost power Monday night. Thankfully he says his power was fully restored by Tuesday late afternoon.

"The TV went off and i was like 'what happened?' So I was sitting in the dark, and what do you do?"

Mitzman did what many folks did and tried to get a hotel room to escape the heat, but he had no luck.

"They were full" said Mitzman. So he stayed inside his home, took the food out of his refrigerator and attempted to read the newspaper with a flashlight until his power came back on.

"I went in the back door and left the light on in there, and I see a light, how wonderful!"

Having electricity and all that comes with it is a relief that many South Bend residents are anxious to have restored. To keep up with I&M outage areas go to I&M Facebook Map.

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