Frustration mounts as power outages stretch through fourth day
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A homeowner on Monday said AES Indiana wasn’t correctly logging and responding to service calls days after storms interrupted power across the state.
When a derecho swept through Indiana on Thursday, more than 81,000 AES customers lost power, including Jodie Nelson. A falling tree brought a live power line down into her backyard at her south side home. She said she immediately feared her two goats would start nibbling on it.
“They’re curious about everything. They mouth everything,” she said. “And I was just terrified that they would mouth those wires and we would have electrocuted baby goats.”
Nelson says she called AES repeatedly over the next two days to report the line. She says nothing was done about it until she flagged down a passing utility crew on Saturday, who told her they had never been told to secure a live power line in the area
“The technicians were awesome. They immediately said they’d get in their truck and follow me over there and get it taken care of,” she said. “But they said it was not on their list.”
As of Monday evening, more than 5,000 AES customers in Indianapolis are still without power. Castleton resident Gia Mapp says she had never experienced an outage lasting longer than a few hours since she moved there in 1998.
She says her father still has power at his house, so she has been going back and forth between her home and his to charge up appliances.
Her neighbor, Cody Mendoza, who works for a company that makes batteries and battery generators, set up some battery-powered lamps in his home. Mendoza and Mapp, like Nelson, say they already had lost refrigerated food to the heat.
Several AES customers told News 8 the company has not responded to repeated service calls. They also say its outage map undercounts outages, sometimes showing service has been restored in an area where people still lack power.
AES spokesperson Kelly Young says she could not speak to specific instances of calls not being answered. As for the map, she says neighboring houses aren’t always connected to the same part of the grid, so it’s possible for a few to still lack power even after everyone else is back online.
Young says AES technicians haven’t seen damage on the scale of Thursday’s derecho in more than 10 years. She says the company has called in crews from states including Illinois and Ohio but they are needed all over Indiana.
She also adds that company officials hope to turn the power back on for everyone who lost power due to the derecho by Monday night. Once that is done, she says crews still have to catch up on the damage from this weekend’s storms.
The power can’t come back on soon enough for Nelson. She breeds rabbits and already has lost one to the heat since Thursday. She says she fears Tuesday’s heat will kill several more.