Wapakoneta and several villages in Auglaize County were part of a widespread power outage Tuesday when electricity on a main power line near Shawnee was interrupted.
The outage occurred as a storm with heavy lightning moved through the area after 5 p.m. Tuesday. Power to the city was interrupted at approximately 6:15 p.m., with electricity off for approximately two hours as city crews started to restore power to residents at approximately 8:15 p.m.
Mayor Rodney Metz monitored the situation from the Wapakoneta Police Department. He said they had received word a main power line north of the city had been interrupted causing power outages to Buckland, Cridersville and Wapakoneta.
“We learned it was a lightning strike at the Shawnee substation which steps down the power from the main line to a line that provides us with power — that was where the problem was at,” Metz said. “We did not have any problems with our equipment, but crews will be out today to check the integrity of the system.”
The Wapakoneta Daily News learned Tuesday night the outage may have started with a main power line near the Apollo Career Center that feeds Cridersville and Wapakoneta.
The mayor said AEP requested the city bring up power slowly, one substation at a time Tuesday night.
Wapakoneta Electric Department crews were dispatched at 8 p.m. They proceeded to each of the city’s electric substations to power up the substations and the electrical lines. The first substation, the Harrison Street Substation, the newest off the substations, was brought on line first as it is receives the main power to the city and distributes it to the other substations on Defiance Street, Middle Street, the Knoch Substation and Industrial Drive.
Metz said the matter was complicated further because AEP is currently upgrading service to Wapakoneta so at present they can provide power to the city only from the north. When at full operation, they can provide power from two different directions.
“I think things went very well — there were a lot of calls to the police department and the Electric Department,” Metz said. “Industry officials were cooperative.”
An attempt to reach Cridersville Mayor Lorali Myers was unsuccessful.
Wapakoneta Police Department Dispatcher and Records Clerk Denise Kohler said calls came in immediately after the outage.
“We had a lot of people calling in to inform of us of the power outage,” Kohler said. “As far as incidents and police manpower, we did not have anything unusual happen and we were fortunate last night (Tuesday) because we had auxiliary officers in here for training.”
She noted people also noted their cell phones stopped working for a time because of power out to the antenna that services some of the phones.
Buckland Mayor Dan Lambert said they were without power for 2 1/2 hours, but they did not encounter any problems because the rain had stopped.
With temperatures climbing into the 90s Tuesday and high humidity as moisture roared into the area, people opted to go out of doors than stay inside. More families could be seen sitting on their porches, children riding their bikes and people walking through their neighborhoods.
Many restaurants and retail establishments closed or halted service during the outage.
Wapakoneta police officers moved stop signs to five-way intersections to help with the flow of traffic.
The last city-wide power outage occurred in October when the city and AEP moved the main lines feeding power to the city from the existing Harrison Street substation to a newer substation.
The previous city-wide blackout caused by natural events occurred in January 2005 when an ice storm hit the area.