IPL encourages customers to report outages
Ninety percent of Indianapolis Power and Light customers don't bother calling to report when their power goes out - and IPL says they'd get it back sooner if they did.
The day after the first spring storm raced through Indianapolis, IPL is giving us a rare look inside its operations center to show how the power company stays ahead of the storm to keep your lights on and get them back on.
IPL typically doesn't allow cameras in its operations center due to worker safety and cybersecurity issues. On Thursday, the company made a rare exception.
24-7, workers here monitor power usage, watch scores of computers and video feeds for problems, dispatch repair crews, and assess weather forecasts.
Wednesday's storms, the typical spring weather most people probably didn't think twice about, had IPL's total attention.
"We were very fortunate. We got lucky last night and this morning," said Joe Bently, IPL Senior Vice President.
Storms that swept through overnight and into the morning had been on the utility's radar since Friday. Wednesday mid-morning, 100 employees began making preparations.
"Where are people going to go, and bringing in additional staffing from midnight to 8 am," Bently explained.
IPL says ice storms typically cause the worst damage. But tornadoes and winds of 60 and 70 miles an hour rank a close second and third.
Despite all the computers and technology, IPL says it still needs some basic help from individual customers when they lose power.
"It's amazing that only about ten percent of the customers call in, even in big storms, when they don't have electricity," said Mark Irving, IPL.
Irving says many people assume their neighbor will call - meaning that 90 percent don't bother reporting it.
IPL wants to hear from as many customers as possible to determine the extent of the outage and the source. The areas that have the most customers without electricity get their utilities turned on first.