April 17, 2014

Elyria
Sunny
60°F
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UPDATED: Columbia Gas restoring service to customers

Columbia Gas crews are working to fix an outage affecting 2,200 customers in North Ridgeville, Eaton Township and Elyria. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

Columbia Gas crews are working to fix an outage affecting 2,200 customers in North Ridgeville, Eaton Township and Elyria. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

Updated (2:30 p.m.):

Columbia Gas is in the process of restoring service to customers.

Customers who do not have service are asked to turn on porch lights. It will be the quickest way for crews to determine who needs help as they drive through affected neighborhoods.

If customers are not home, they are asked to make arrangement with next door neighbor or friends who can let Columbia Gas inside the home to complete the safety checks necessary for service restoration. Residents can also leave contact information taped to front doors.

The restoration process will be hampered without access to homes. If a Columbia gas employee comes to a home and no one answers the door, an information doorknob tag will be left on the door instructing residents on who to call to have the safety check completed and service restored.

Crews plan to work throughout the afternoon and into the evening restoring service.

Updated (Noon):

Columbia Gas expects to begin going door-to-door to restore service between 1:30 and 2 p.m., according to Doug Dever, a spokesman with the Lorain County Emergency Management Agency.

Crews are currently purging air from the service lines, and once this is complete, they will begin restoring service.

At this time, it is unknown how long it will take to restore service to all customers. Some customers will see their service restored early this afternoon, Dever said, while other customers might not see service restored until tonight.

“Crews will work into the night as needed,” Dever said.

Customers need to be at the residence for service to be restored. People who leave their homes should leave contact information on the door so that repair crews can contact them.

Anyone with special needs should contact Columbia Gas at 800-344-4077.

Shelters are currently set up at:

  • St. Mary’s Church, 320 Middle Ave., Elyria — 2 people at site
  • General Johnnie Wilson Middle School, 2700 Washington Ave., Lorain — 1 person at site
  • North Eaton Christian Church, 35896 Royalton, Eaton Twp. — 0 people at site
  • Ruby’s Hall, 36709 Royalton, Eaton Twp. — 0 people at site
  • Ross Environmental Services, 150 Innovation Drive, Elyria — 0 people at site

Update (8:30 a.m.):

Repairs are expected to take several more hours. Columbia Gas crews are working in two-man teams, in marked vehicles, and have photo identification. They will be going door-to-door to re-light service once repairs are completed.

Warming shelters are open at St. Mary’s Hall, 320 Middle Ave., Elyria, and North Eaton Christian Church, 35895 Royalton Road, Grafton.

Residents who go to a shelter or another location should leave contact information on their door so repair crews can contact them.

——–ORIGINAL STORY——–

 

Wal-Mart, located at 1000 Chestnut Commons Drive, is affected by the gas outage and is closed until further notice.

Wal-Mart, located at 1000 Chestnut Commons Drive, is affected by the gas outage and is closed until further notice.

Some 2,200 Columbia Gas customers were without heat early this morning in subzero temperatures.

At midnight, the temperature was minus 11 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. The outages, called in about 9 p.m., affected customers in Eaton Township, Elyria and North Ridgeville, according to Doug Dever, a spokesman with the Lorain County Emergency Management Agency, a branch of the Department of Homeland Security.

Dever said the outage was primarily west of Root Road in North Ridgeville south of Chestnut Ridge and Sugar Ridge roads. The affected areas of Elyria were in the southeast in the Chestnut Commons neighborhood.

Dever advised residents without gas to run their pipes at a trickle to avoid pipes freezing and bursting. Affected residents can go to an emergency shelter opened Monday in Elyria at St. Mary Parish, 320 Middle Ave.

Ray Frank, a Columbia Gas Co., spokesman, said deliveries from pipeline suppliers were disrupted causing the outage. He said crews from around Ohio and surrounding states were working Monday night and early today to restore service.

In order to restore service, crews will need to make two visits to each affected structure. Overnight, crews were going door-to-door to turn off service at each meter. Once repairs are complete, crews will need to go back to each structure to turn service on and perform a safety inspection.

Residents who go to a shelter or stay at another location should leave contact information on the door so that repair crews can contact them once they are in the area.

Columbia is working with the agency and the American Red Cross Lorain County Chapter to help people without heat. Anyone with special medical needs is asked to call Columbia at (800) 344-4077.

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.

  • oldruss

    These monopolies that provide necessary public services, like heat, lights, water, etc., SHOULD have a duty to keep their services operational, even with adverse weather conditions. Unfortunately, these customers have little recourse, move out to a shelter, frozen pipes, etc., and Columbia Gas will go on its merry way. The Ohio Public Utilities Commission will do nothing to sanction this company in any way shape or form.

    • Pablo Jones

      They do and they are working to correct the problem. It isn’t liked they planned for the issue to happen. What did you expect from them?

      • oldruss

        How about simple competence? It’s not like this cold snap was unpredicted. Columbia Gas had a duty to see to it that it had dependable suppliers. My point is, that these public utility companies, as well as municipalities that provide utility services, are virtually immune to any consumer pressure, and too often operate negligently to the detriment of their customers. As an example, ask any one of the hundreds of Lorain homeowners whose basements are frequently flooded with raw sewage because the Lorain Utility Department is, at a minimum, incapable of keeping sewer lines open and free flowing.

        • http://comradealan.com/ Alan Pugh

          I don’t typically agree with anything from Pablo Jones, but I’d like to see you tell these guys working unplanned overnight overtime, outdoors in ten-below weather, to help restore service as quickly as possible that they’re “incompetent” and not doing enough.

        • Pablo Jones

          I don’t believe we know what caused the disruption. It could have been a cracked pipeline, a failed pump, or whatever, how would competency have prevented it? They could have the extra parts and equipment available, but they don’t know what will break or when it will break.

          Do you want double or triple redundancy? Laying 2 or 3 lines next to each other, 2 or 3 lines going into your house. What do you think that would do to the gas bill?

          As far as fining them for the outage would be the equivalent of a cop giving you a ticket for getting a flat tire while driving.

          The Lorain issue isn’t even close to being similar. The Lorain issue was know for a long time, and the solution isn’t something that can be fixed within 10 hours. Those residence also had/have the option of installing back flow preventers to protect their basement from being flooded.

          • oldruss

            We do know what a spokesman for Columbia Gas said was the cause: “Ray Frank, a Columbia Gas Co., spokesman, said deliveries from pipeline suppliers were disrupted causing the outage.”
            As to what caused these suppliers to have disrupted their supply of natural gas to Columbia, the article did not say. But the bottom line is that for a monopoly like Columbia Gas to have ANY disruption in service, and especially in weather as bad as we have been experiencing, is unacceptable.

          • Joe Smith

            Name one provider of anything that has a guaranteed 100% rate of providing service.

          • Pablo Jones

            That is not a cause that is a symptom of the problem. That is like saying the homes of those affect were cold because their pilot light went out in their furnace. But that wasn’t the main cause you have to keep asking why till you find the final answer.

            You can’t say the suppliers were incompetent because their was an issue you have to find out what the problem was and what caused it. If it was employee Billy didn’t flip switch “B” because he wasn’t trained to do that when the temperature go below 10 degrees, then you could say the supplier is incompetent. But if it was a pump or value that frosted over for the first time from micro fractions in the lines that allowed moisture in you can’t say that is incompetence.

            We don’t even know if it was the suppliers fault. It was a loss of pressure in the lines from the supplier, but we don’t know who owns or manages those lines. That would be like you blaming the water department for a water line that froze and burst in your house.

          • oldruss

            To amplify on my previous post, see the comment from another story, which says that a Columbia Gas technician, who was at the poster’s home to restore service, told him that it was an allocation issue. Columbia Gas failed to purchase sufficient natural gas futures, and then chose not to pay high “spot-prices” for natural gas when its supplies ran low. Instead, Columbia Gas rationed the natural gas it had available by shutting off customers. See: http://chronicle.northcoastnow.com/2014/01/08/elyria-residents-still-await-gas-service-restoration/

          • Pablo Jones

            Well I read a comment on another board from a person who talked to their neighbor who said the government was behind it.

            That comment was nothing but speculation on that part of the commenter. According to the comment the Tech said nothing about spot prices, just that services had to be restored in phases to keep the line from depressurizing again. If service was reconnected all at the same time the pressure would go down and all the furnaces/water heaters would go out. Think of an old home and you are taking a shower, if someone starts using water else where in the house the pressure decreases. If it decreases enough your shower may turn off.

            Do you really think it was a pricing issue for purchasing gas? That to save $1,000 That they would shut off gas to a few dozen homes and then pay over $10,000 in overtime to solve the problem.

    • Bob Sweatt

      This is nothing different then a lightning strike taking out your lights. It’s an act of nature. How would you purpose they help avoid lightning strikes??

      • Joe Smith

        Lightning rods?……just saying

        • Bob Sweatt

          Sure. But I work with electronics that go out to tv and radio stations. All of which have rods setup. But guess what I get in all through the summer? You guessed it. Units that have suffered lightning damage. So they work to a point.

          Plus what you are saying is, that the electric company spend millions of dollars installing lightning rods on every pole and building. Which would hike up their rates to install and maintain all those lightning rods.

          Just saying.

          • Joe Smith

            It was an attempt at humourus sarcasm bro.

            Don’t “Sweatt” the small stuff.

            Keep warm

    • stop ur whining

      Yes russ nothing should ever go wrong. We all live on clouds of happiness, it rains gumdrops. It sure is wonderful in fantasy land.

  • Michelle

    They are in Waterbury now. If you are there, look for them. They are literally running from house to house. Turning on the outside and they have to come in to turn on the inside gas line items.

    • Michelle

      they do NOT have time to stop and call numbers posted on doors or read signs. They are running from house to house trying to get the job done. Open your front door and flag them down.

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