Last week’s ice storm knocked out electricity to nearly a third of Kentucky power customers, smashing the previous state record for outages that was set just four months ago.
About 769,353 homes and businesses were without power at last week’s peak, which came late on Jan. 29, according
to the Kentucky Public Service Commission.
Power has been restored to about 73 percent of those who were out last week, the PSC says. But utility crews still have 208,335 more customers to hook back up, most of whom live in Western Kentucky, which saw several major transmission lines serving large areas go down.
“The extent of damage is unprecedented, particularly to the electric transmission lines that are the backbone of the system,” said PSC Chairman David Armstrong in a statement. “Completing repairs in the working conditions following the storm is going to be difficult and time-consuming process.”
Of the total outages, 607,152 were in areas served by utilities that are regulated by the PSC. Another 108,619 customers of the Tennessee Valley Authority were out, while independent municipal utilities had 53,582 customers without power.
The previous record was about 600,000 total Kentucky customers without power, which was set in September after high winds from the aftermath of Hurricane Ike knocked down power lines from Western Kentucky through Louisville and up to Northern Kentucky.
Meanwhile, much of Western Kentucky had suffered from widespread cell phone service problems with AT&T’s service, which lost power to many of its towers and circuits. But 99 percent of that service was back up by Wednesday, a spokeswoman said.
– Ryan Alessi