Chesterton Tribune



Duneland- including CHS- loses power in Mondays blistering heat

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Nearly 2,000 NIPSCO customers in Chesterton--including Chesterton High School--lost power on Monday, and nearly 1,200 more did in Liberty Township, the Northern Indiana Public Service Company is reporting.

NIPSCO spokesman Nick Meyer told the Chesterton Tribune that 1,870 Chesterton and 1,166 Valparaiso customers were left for several hours in the dark--and in the heat--following what Meyer described as “two outage events that were tied together.”

NIPSCO was made aware of the first outage around 1 p.m., Meyer said, and service was restored to customers gradually over the course of the next two to four hours.

“Although we’ll be looking further into the cause, we believe it to have been caused by a combination of extreme heat and high-wind gusts which may have caused a transmission line circuit to come in contact with a distribution circuit running beneath,” Meyer said. That circuit, in turn, feeds a substation and associated equipment which serve portions of Liberty Township and Valparaiso.

Meyer noted that Monday’s sweltering temperatures “can cause power lines to sag with the increased electric usage.”

NIPSCO, however, didn’t experience “any other issues like that anywhere else on our system yesterday,” Meyer added.


At CHS the lights went out at 1:40 p.m., Principal Brent Martinson said. And they really went out. “For whatever reason, the auxiliary generators were out as well.”

For safety’s sake--so that no one, for instance, fell down a flight of steps in the dark--students were instructed to stay where they were, while in classrooms with windows “the teachers went right on teaching.”

The main concern, though, was how to handle dismissal in the dark. Martinson said that he contacted Central Office and was authorized to execute a “slow-rolling” dismissal, one class at a time, with administrators, secretaries, and other staffers equipped with flashlights and bullhorns fanning out to the different pods and leading students to the main lobby.

Then, just as the operation was getting started, the lights went back on, at 2:34 p.m.

“The kids were great, the teachers were great, the whole thing was awesome,” Martinson said. “I felt like we handled it the best we could. Because there’s nothing in the manual about this. It was about as much a non-event as this sort of thing can be.”

The real question: how long before the school began to feel like a sauna?

“On the first floor we could feel the heat building up around 2:30,” Martinson said. “Upstairs it began getting warm a little faster, probably around 2:10 or so.”

Warm? As one student, sophomore Kate Nevers, told the Tribune, “It was really hot.”



Posted 8/28/2018





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