IN - AEP thinking upgrades agter Monday's outages : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

SOUTH BEND -- As crews continued efforts to restore power at several downtown buildings Tuesday, an American Electric Power spokesman said system upgrades may be considered to prevent similar mishaps in the future.

Cables leading into two transformers near the KeyBank Building, 202 S. Michigan St., caught fire and erupted shortly after noon Monday, resulting in power outages to a number of nearby facilities including the St. Joseph County Jail and County City Building.

Although power was restored at the jail and County City Building about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, outages continued throughout the business day at the KeyBank Building, Jefferson Plaza, the Century Building, the Plaza Building, and Tri-State University.

AEP spokesman Tom Kratt said power would be restored once either of two damaged feeds near the KeyBank Building is repaired.

"We're putting a temporary source in . . . until buildings have power," Kratt said.

A large diesel generator, which will serve as a temporary power source for businesses, was brought in about 7 p.m. Tuesday, according to Kratt.

He said three crews worked through the night to ensure "things run smoothly." Power was expected to be restored to buildings about 3 a.m. today well before the start of the business day.

Kratt noted that before permanent power can be restored, another temporary outage will occur while the diesel generator is disconnected. However, AEP will work with businesses to make sure the temporary outage is not disruptive.

Although it appeared that lights were on in some of the affected buildings Tuesday afternoon, Kratt explained that multiple feeds go into each building. He said some of those feeds that support lighting for the facilities were operable, but the feeds supporting heavier equipment, such as elevators and heaters, were not.

Monday's disruption occurred while the buildings were closed for the holiday, but the continued outage Tuesday extended the weekend even further for several businesses.

Jim Masters, whose law offices are in the Century Building, said the outage was more than an inconvenience.

"It's costing us money," Masters said as he prepared documents for court at his home. "We've got clients that can't even call in to us."

Kratt said AEP representatives have been in contact with the building managers to keep them up to date on the progress of the repairs.

"This is not something we want to see happen by any means," he said.

Kratt explained it may take weeks to determine what caused the fire and to assess all the damage.

He said that the company will also take a broader look at the problem and consider possible upgrades to the system to prevent future outages.

"We're not going to just fix it and walk away," Kratt said.

-- Doris (, January 03, 2001

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