1,700 UPPCO customers affected by a.m. outage

HOUGHTON – It took Upper Peninsula Power Company workers about three hours to restore power to much of Houghton after a vehicle struck a power pole this morning on Montezuma Avenue (see related story).

The accident happened at about 7:25 a.m., and power was not fully restored to many customers, including The Daily Mining Gazette, until about 10:30 a.m.

According to UPPCO spokeswoman Lisa Prunty, based out of Green Bay, a total of 1,707 customers were affected.

“Crews had to wait until the accident area was cleaned up, and then crews were able to switch most of the load to another substation,” Prunty said.

Shortly after 9 a.m. several large retail stores, including, Walmart, Shopko, Tadych’s Econo Foods and Festival Foods, had power restored, reducing the number of customers affected to 700.

An additional substation handled most of the remaining 700 customers, but “a handful of customers” on Portage Street in Houghton were still without power as of late this morning. Prunty estimated all power would be restored by mid-afternoon.

“We did alright with it,” said Mike Palek, manager of the Houghton Walmart, which does not have a back-up generator. “We just cover and protect (frozen foods), and make sure we don’t hit any critical points.”

Due to the limited time frame, no problems were reported there or at Econo Foods, which has a generator that can handle some parts of the store for a limited time.

“We have some kind of generator to hold power to some areas, but not the whole store,” Econo Foods Assistant Manager Eli Rivera said. “When the power outage came, we had to close the store and get the customers out of the store. We have procedures we follow.”

For power outage updates from UPPCO, visit uppco.com/outagesummary or follow @UPPCOstorm on Twitter.