Public Service Commission
769,353 Kentucky Customers Lost Power at Ice Storm Peak - Nearly Three-fourths Have Service Restored; 208,335 Still Out

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, February 04, 2009  
Contact Information:  Andrew Melnykovych
502-564-3940, ext. 208
502-330-5981 (cell)

       At the peak of last week’s massive ice storm, more than one-third of Kentucky electric customers were without power, according to new figures compiled by the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC).
       Information gathered from all electric providers in the state show that 769,353 customers were without power at the worst of the storm, late on January 29. Kentucky has about 2.2 million electric customers. The outage affected 35.7 percent of them.
       “These numbers simply bring into sharper focus what we already knew,” Governor Steve Beshear said. “This is the worst disruption of essential services on record in Kentucky.”
       As of early today, 208,335 Kentucky customers remain without power.  About 561,000 customers – 73 percent of those who lost power – are back in service.
       Since the onset of the storm, the PSC has been providing regular updates on outages affecting utilities under its jurisdiction. The regular updates do not include rural electric cooperatives within the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) system or any municipal utilities.
       Information obtained by the PSC from TVA and the Municipal Electric Power Association of Kentucky provides a complete picture of the outages. The numbers are as follow:
                                                           Peak outage 1/29                   As of 2/4
Jurisdictional utilities                                   607,152                             142,785
TVA-served utilities                                    108,619                               52,600
    Cooperatives and municipal
Non-TVA municipal utilities                             53,582                              12,950

TOTAL                                                     769,353                              208,335

       PSC Chairman David Armstrong cautioned that full restoration of power may be a week or more away for customers in the hardest-hit areas, most of which are in western Kentucky.
       “The extent of damage is unprecedented, particularly to the electric transmission lines that are the backbone of the system,” he said. “Completing repairs in the working conditions following the storm is going to be a difficult and time-consuming process.”
        Armstrong said the PSC will continue to monitor the progress of restoration efforts by utilities under its jurisdiction. Lessons learned from this storm will be used to improve response to future emergencies, he said.
       “We certainly hope we never again experience anything like this storm,” Armstrong said. “But if we do, we need to know what should be done differently.”
       The PSC is an independent agency attached for administrative purposes to the Energy and Environment Cabinet. It regulates more than 1,500 gas, water, sewer, electric and telecommunication utilities operating in Kentucky and has approximately 100 employees.


transmission line damage - western Kentucky