Ice Storm damage – $10-12 million

Printed in January 6th’s News-Sentinel:

I&M says ice storm cost it $10 million-$12 million
Worker overtime, emergency help and equipment were the major expenses

By Bob Caylor

Bringing power back to Fort Wayne after the Dec. 19 ice storm will end up costing Indiana Michigan Power Co. $10 million to $12 million.

Mike Brian, a spokesman for the utility, said Monday that figure includes overtime for I&M workers; the cost of housing, feeding and paying emergency help from other regions; and the replacement of equipment, ranging from about 100 toppled utility poles to blown transformers.

[…] The cost of the storm will be carried by the utility. Brian said the utility does not insure against natural disasters; instead, it budgets $4 million or $5 million to cover the kind of storm damage I&M encounters in a typical year.

The ice storm last month was the worst in decades. Brian said its $10 million to $12 million cost to the utility isn’t the kind of expense that would trigger a request for a rate increase. The last severe ice storm in Fort Wayne was in February 1990. That knocked out power to 20,000 customers and cost the utility $1.25 million.

Fort Wayne city government is still compiling an estimate of how much its ice-storm response cost. A few numbers are already available. City spokeswoman Rachel Blakeman said the Department of Parks and Recreation said it lost at least 500 trees, with a replacement cost of $100,000. More than 100 hours of overtime in 911 communications during the first three days after the storm hit cost $2,810, she said.

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