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Published: Wednesday, 7/4/2012

Storm-hit parts of Ohio could face more outages

BLADE NEWS SERVICES

COLUMBUS -- Thousands of Ohioans were among an estimated 1.25 million utility customers who remain without power Tuesday, more than four days after a punishing storm ripped across parts of the state and much of the eastern United States.

The storms that began Friday killed 24 people in seven states and the District of Columbia.

One utility in Ohio warned it might have to knock some people off the power grid if usage didn't temporarily decline.

American Electric Power-Ohio urged customers to raise the thermostat on their air conditioners a few degrees, turn off lights, and wait to do dishes and laundry until after 7 p.m.

"People have been without air conditioning, they're using more electricity," said Dan Rogier, an AEP-Ohio transmission managing director. "Couple that with the commercial and industrial load, it can stress a weakened transmission system."

About 272,000 AEP-Ohio customers remained without power Tuesday, most in central Ohio. In total, more than 300,000 people still didn't have electricity, including customers of Duke Energy in southwest Ohio and Dayton Power & Light.

Meanwhile, federal emergency money began filtering out to Ohio and West Virginia to help buy generators and other equipment needed to restore power. The two states formally requested federal emergency assistance a day after the storm wreaked havoc Friday night.

Ohio and West Virginia were receiving generators for hospitals and emergency facilities and telecommunications gear to supplement or replace equipment that had failed.

FEMA can also mobilize emergency medical personnel.

Also Tuesday, state officials encouraged Ohio's college and university students to help check on the elderly and others affected by outages from the storms.

The Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education is identifying coordinators at the schools to direct student volunteers, who are expected to travel in pairs to make the checks.

In addition, the state Human Services agency said poor families with children, including pregnant women, may be eligible for up to $1,500 in disaster assistance per household.



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