DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Oregon District retailers and restaurants are usually busy throughout the week, but the past couple of days it has been lights out for them.
Power went out Tuesday afternoon and didn’t come back on until late Wednesday night for some businesses on Fifth Street. 2 NEWS asked DP&L what happened; they told us over the phone it was a complicated and rare issue.
“It’s definitely more than just being able to turn the lights on. It’s safe food storage, evaluating loss of product, having to prep fresh product that you lost and labor hours for employees, I mean that’s a big one” said Emily Mendenhall, Lily’s Bistro owner.
Lily’s Bistro employees lost a day and a half of hourly wages and tips. The restaurant also lost some food products, but the losses don’t end there…
“We had to re-do our internet connection. We had fried wires from the Internet. I still have one point of sale that’s completely down” Mendenhall explained.
Mendenhall says the black-out caused her to lose thousands of dollars in business.
Across the street, Thai 9 and Oregon Express had to close as well.
“DP&L was out front and they said with the storms, electricity runs underground in the Oregon District.” she explained. “it’s very old. With the storms, it flooded up to the electrical lines.”
2 NEWS asked Mendenhall if she felt her power provider had failed her.
She answered, “I feel like there could have been a little bit more communication early on, but by yesterday, Wednesday afternoon they started to realize its all small businesses, it’s a lot of employees, between us Thai 9 and Oregon Express we had over 100 employees out of work.”
We e-mailed DP&L the following questions and got these responses:
What caused the power outage throughout the Oregon District yesterday? The cause was an issue with an underground cable, attributed to lightning.
How long were customers on that street without power? Four customers experienced a partial outage beginning on 7/15. Approximately 20 customers (including the four) sustained loss of power during the repairs, which required pulling new cable through manholes to make permanent repairs. Customers were out of power for approximately seven hours. Customers were notified prior to the planned outage to make repairs.
The previous night power kept shutting on and off, were they related to Wednesday’s outage? Yes, the interruptions in power were needed to troubleshoot and isolate the problem. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Will those businesses or residents see a discount on their bill due to the inconvenience? DP&L employees walked door-to-door yesterday to inform customers of the issue and DP&L’s plan to restore service. Customers were very appreciative of DP&L’s round-the-clock response and made a point of thanking the crews. Equipment occasionally fails in those cases, DP&L tariffs specify that it is not liable with costs associated with the outage.
What work was done? Did DP&L crews get overtime? Crews worked around the clock to safely make this complicated repair. DP&L crews are fully staffed 24 hours.
Was this a rare issue? Outages in this area of downtown Dayton are indeed rare. DP&L inspects and maintains underground system in Dayton every year. We have crews out every day completing inspections and maintenance, ensuring the underground system in Dayton is as reliable as it can be.
Is the area in the clear? As in, this won’t happen again. The cabling is new however, electrical equipment can be damaged by outside factors (i.e. severe weather, dig-ins, car accidents etc). DP&L prides itself on its reliability and will continue to work to develop plans to improve the reliability and flexibility (switching options) in the area.