Paulding-Putnam Electric Cooperative has steadily whittled down the number of power outages caused by the June 29 windstorm. However, co-op crews are still working to restore service to approximately 1,325 members. Most of these are in an area south of the Miller City Substation and around Convoy.

Repairs to a heavily damaged high-voltage transmission line owned by American Electric Power (AEP) could mean most of the remaining outages could be cleared earlier than the projected July 15 date. More the 50 poles were damaged along this transmission route. Paulding-Putnam distribution lines were attached to the same structures.

"AEP projects having all transmission structure damage repaired by this weekend. This will enable us to get our folks back in service. Large blocs of members will regain power," said George Carter, CEO and general manager.

Details of this restoration work will be available at a community meeting tomorrow (Saturday) at 2 p.m. at the Miller City Fire Department. There are certain actions co-op members can take to facilitate these efforts, according to Carter.

He advises that portable generators should be switched off when co-op crews begin work in the area. Generators can back-feed current onto the lines, endangering workers. Co-op members also are encouraged to make sure all lights and appliances are off in their homes to avoid "cold load" problems that could cause substation breakers to trip.

Paulding-Putnam was one of the hardest hit electric cooperatives in Ohio. The storm packing hurricane-force winds left 140,000 co-op members statewide without power. Many of the outages were caused by loss of transmission service to substations. Thousands of outages remain a week after the event, but co-ops are leading the way in restoration efforts.

"Our linemen and assisting crews from Michigan and other Ohio electric co-ops are working hard in severe conditions," Carter said, noting the 100-degree heat indices and broiling sun. "They are committed to seeing this through to the end and making certain everyone has their electricity back. Please be patient for a little longer. This was a huge storm front, and it has taken a corresponding effort to get things back to normal."

More than one million Ohioans were plunged into darkness by the storm and in excess of three million were without power in the Midwest and eastern U.S. Hundreds of thousands of homes remain without electricity in the Columbus area and central Ohio.