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Local News

Thousands Without Power in Louisville, Restoration for Most Expected Tonight

Thousands of LG&E customers in Louisville are without power following severe weather late this morning.

According to LG&E’s outage map, about 1,400 Louisville homes and business have no power. Fewer than 1,000 homes and businesses in Indiana are without power.

LG&E plans to have power restored to most customers tonight, with the final few homes coming online tomorrow morning.

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Local News

Hundreds of Area Residents Without Power Following Storms

Monday night’s severe storms knocked out power for nearly 2,000 Louisvillians.

The heavy winds and thunderstorms began around 9:00 and were brief. But after they passed over Louisville, residents across the city were without power. The heaviest outages were reported in the Park Hill and Seneca neighborhoods, though several LG&E customers elsewhere were also without power.

Several hundred Duke Energy customers in southern Indiana were also without power.

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Environment Local News

LG&E Will Try to Recoup August Storm Costs

As expected, Louisville Gas and Electric is asking the Kentucky Public Service Commission to let it recover costs the incurred during last August’s storm.

The wind storm knocked down trees and power lines throughout the county, and 126,000 customers were without power.

Restoring power required outside contractors, and cost LG&E more than $7 million. If the PSC approves the rate increase, the utility estimates it will raise the average residential bill by about 20 cents a month.

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Local News

As Power Restoration Winds Down, Insight Monitors Cable Connections

Electricity has been restored for most Louisville residents, but several people found that when their lights came on, their Internet connections and cable television did not.

Cable often follows the same path as power lines, and Louisville Gas and Electric has priority access to damaged connections and poles.

“Typically, we are there on site when they finish working, particularly if it’s one of our core systems or a piece of our fiber network, and again, we didn’t have any of our fiber network go down,” says Insight Communications spokesman Jason Keller.

The wind storm of 2008 and ice storm of 2009 did more damage to the network than this weekend’s storm, so Keller says reconnecting customers was either fast or not necessary. He adds that the company knows when service isn’t working at an address, but there is no way for customers to track outages the way they can with LG&E.

“We have discussed that, previously, but we haven’t made any plans of doing something like that. But if anything like that changes, we’ll be certain to alert our customers to that,” he says.

Keller says most of the service outages reported in the last few days have been related to power outages. As of Tuesday afternoon, about 1,000 Insight customers were disconnected.

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Here and Now

Today on Here and Now

Today we’re looking back at the weekend. On the national level, that means a review of the action at the Iowa Straw Poll in Ames. And on the local level, it means an update on where things stand after Saturday’s storm. In total, about 30,000 customers of Duke and LG&E are waiting for the power to come back, and the big question is whether there will be school tomorrow.

A new wave of violence ripped through more than a dozen Iraqi cities from the north to the south today, killing nearly 60 people.

Intelligence sources are saying that Pakistan gave the Chinese military access to the downed helicopter that was used in the raid to capture Osama bin Laden. We’ll chat with Mark Mazzetti of the New York Times about what this might mean.

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Local News

JCPS Expected to Announce Decision by 6 PM Today

The first day of school for JCPS students has been postponed due to Saturday’s storm. A decision about whether students will be in school tomorrow is expected later today.

“We had our crews out this morning. We’re accessing the roads, assessing the intersections to see where lights are not working,” said Rick Caple, director of transportation for JCPS. Three of the 13 bus compounds and some schools are still without internet and phone service, he said. There are still a number of roads that are blocked and a number of lights at major intersections that aren’t working, he said.

“We do not have phone service or internet service at three compounds. We have about approximately 30 schools that don’t have internet or phone service it would be very difficult to open up a school without either one. So hopefully we can make some progress this afternoon,” said Caple

JCPS spokesman Ben Jackey said an announcement of whether students should be in school Tuesday is likely to be made later today. But he said school is scheduled and parents and students should assume classes will resume.

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Local News

Schools Close as Power Restoration Continues

The first day of classes at Jefferson County Public Schools has been postponed due to power outages.

Saturday’s storm knocked out power to about 30 schools and dozens of traffic lights, making teaching and transportation difficult.

“With the uncertainty, the best thing to do is what’s certain,” says Superintendent Donna Hargens. “Our top priority is to make students safe so they can learn and we will make up the day.”

No decision has been made on classes for Tuesday, but schools do have priority for power restoration, behind hospitals and police and fire stations.

“During the ice storm and the wind storm we had 80 schools down, to give you an idea of the complexity of this. We’re not as bad as we were in those instances,” says director of facilities Mike Mulheirn.

As of 2:00, 59,000 LG&E customers in Jefferson County were without power. In southern Indiana, 12,000 Duke Energy customers were without power.

LG&E/KU Outage Map
Duke Outage information

Utility crews have been called in from other states and LG&E is still assessing the extent of the damage.

“We are gonna hit it hard, fast and aggressively. That’s why we’re pulling every resource we can from that wide array of states. We’re on it. We’ve got all the mutual aid communications open and we’re getting what we’re asking for,” says LG&E Senior Vice President Chris Hermann.

Hermann says it’s too early to give a more precise estimate, but power could be restored to most customers by the middle of the week.

An LG&E spokesman says the company will try to recoup the cost of recovery through a rate increase. LG&E is currently seeking a rate increase to cover the cost of bringing power plants into compliance with federal regulations.

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Local News

Metro Government Review of Flood Damage Costs Continues

Louisville Metro Government officials are still tallying the cost of damage and cleanup from severe flooding in recent weeks.

If the city can claim $2.4 million or more in damages, Metro Government can request federal assistance. At last count, $600,000 had been spent to keep flood pumps running and officials estimated an additional $100,000 would be necessary to repair and clean streets.

Emergency Management Director Doug Hamilton gave agencies until Monday to report any damages, but the deadline was apparently lifted and the review continues. City officials declined to say whether a new deadline has been set. The Ohio River is expected to rise slightly this week due to additional rainfall.

The city could decide to seek relief even if it doesn’t cross the $2.4 million threshold. Any rejected requests could be appealed.

A spokesperson for the mayor’s office says a decision on whether to apply for assistance will be made soon.

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Local News

Beshear Requests Federal Disaster Declaration

by Dan Conti, Kentucky Public Radio

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has sent a letter to President Barack Obama seeking a federal disaster declaration. Beshear is touring western Kentucky today to review storm damage, and a presidential declaration could make federal relief funds available.

“Obviously some of the damage is unknown, yet, because we won’t know the extent of all the damage until the waters actually recede and we can see what the waters have done to roads and bridges and other parts of each county,” he says.

The Department of Agriculture may also offer aid for damaged farmland. 48 Kentucky counties have declared states of disaster due to storms and flooding.

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Local News

As Damage Assessments Begin, Beshear Contemplates Federal Assistance

by Lisa Autry, Kentucky Public Radio

Damage assessments in flood-damaged parts of Kentucky are underway, but the extent of the damage and the cost of recovery won’t be known until the water recedes.

Governor Steve Beshear says once the costs are known, he will likely request a presidential disaster declaration.

“I would think we will, but we want to make sure we do and we move quickly,” he says. “That will then enable the federal government to start doing their own assessments and hopefully we’ll get some federal relief in terms of money and small interest loans and things like that.”

Beshear says he may also ask the Department of Agriculture for assistance for damaged farms. The governor plans to fly over flooded areas Kentucky tomorrow (Thursday).