Hoosiers face power and water problems during brutally-cold weather

PLAINFIELD, Ind.-- Jennifer High shivered as she and her youngest daughter packed up their things to leave their home in Plainfield’s Settlement subdivision.

“It’s cold; my hands are freezing,” High said.

Jennifer’s home, along with more than 300 others in the area, lost power early Tuesday morning amid the coldest weather in recent memory.  She says she noticed the electricity was off when she woke up around 4 a.m.  By late morning, the thermostat in the home read 56 degrees.  That’s when she and her daughter decided to go stay with her oldest daughter in Brownsburg.

“It just keeps dropping, it’s not getting any warmer,” Jennifer said.  “And the 12 o'clock time that they said it would be on is passing so, we’re just, it’s time to go.”

On the next street, Ramona Phillips and her teenage son were slightly warmer thanks to the fire in their fireplace.

“I didn’t know how long this was going to go on, so I went ahead and put a log in to try to keep it kind of warm in here,” Ramona said.

The fire was helping, but it was still cold enough in the house to wear a coat.

“I put pillows and stuff in my windows so I wouldn’t lose a lot of heat,” she said.

The outage in Plainfield was just one of several areas around the Hoosier state where homeowners lost electricity Tuesday morning.  Earlier in the day, South Central Indiana REMC was reporting outages affecting more than 2,300 customers in Owen County.  That represents about 35-percent of the utility’s customers in that county.  Smaller outages were reported in Putnam, Monroe and Clay counties.

Duke Energy was reporting outages in some Carmel neighborhoods.  Another outage in Whiteland’s Millstone subdivision prompted officials to open the town hall for residents to take shelter.

In Indianapolis, cold weather is suspected as the cause of a water line break that left an entire apartment complex without water Tuesday morning.  Citizens Energy had to shut off water service to the Springhill Apartments, near 46th Street and High School Road, after a service line inside the complex broke.  Residents in the complex started calling about the problem Monday evening after seeing water coming up through the snowy pavement.

A repair contractor eventually arrived around 11 p.m. to start digging down to the line.

Many residents in the apartments didn’t know what was going on, but they noticed their showers and sinks not working Tuesday morning.

“When I got up at 8:00 to take a shower, to go run my errands, no water,” said Lavon Harding.  “So I checked my tub, I checked my sink, no water.  I said 'oh wow', so I just left.”

“It’s really painful right now. I tried to get in the shower, I couldn’t brush my teeth or anything, so I had to take the water out of my refrigerator,” said Ty Johnson.

“I got water bottles, so I’m just going to boil the water and wash up,” Harding said.  “That’s what I can do.”

Repair crews were expected to have the water line fixed by midday and hoped to have water service restored to the complex by early afternoon.

Power outages around the state had also declined by Tuesday afternoon.  Earlier outage totals in the thousands had dropped into the hundreds as utility repair crews raced to get power restored.

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