Columbia crews work to restore power to hundreds still in dark

Thursday, July 10, 2014 | 9:11 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — For Judy Schulz and her family, the power outage that resulted from Monday night's storms meant a change in accommodations.

“We lived in the gazebo in our backyard,” Schulz said. “We were lucky that the weather was nice.”

The Schulzes, of Lynnwood Drive, got their power back Wednesday night, but not everyone in Columbia has been so fortunate.

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, fewer than 300 Columbia Water and Light customers remained without power due to Monday night's severe thunderstorms, according to a news release from the utility. The utility's online outage map showed 279 customers without power as of 8:15 p.m. That is down from approximately 1,300 customers without power Wednesday night, and 14,000 immediately after the storm.

Crews were expected to continue work on restoring power Thursday night and Friday morning, according to the release.

Columbia Water and Light spokeswoman Connie Kacprowicz said that the areas still without power were those where downed power lines and tree debris made accessibility difficult for utility workers. She said some workers had been forced to hand-dig holes for new electric poles and had trouble getting trucks into people's backyards.

Six 80-foot poles on Fairview Road that were broken in Monday's storm have been replaced, although there was still work to be done late Thursday afternoon connecting new power lines to them, according to the news release. The damage to those poles had caused the surrounding areas to lose power.

It is not certain when the stretch of Fairview Road between West Broadway and Ash Street will reopen.

Columbia Water and Light crews are being assisted in their efforts by crews from Par Electric and Asplundh.

Supervising editor is Landon Woodroof.

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