Updated: November 24, 2011 3:34AM
Call NIPSCO if you have a power outage from the blizzard. Don’t call if you have a question about your bill. And don’t touch any downed power lines.
The Northern Indiana Public Service Co. is prepping for the storm by informing customers how best to address their problems, and by deploying extra crews.
During the blizzard, NIPSCO will prioritize emergency-related calls and is asking customers to use the website, www.nipsco.com, for billing-related matters.
If you experience an outage, call NIPSCO’s automated phone system at (800) 464-7726. Customers can request a call back when power has been restored.
“During a storm, downed trees and ice can weigh down power lines, causing them to snap,” NIPSCO said in a press release. “For your safety, please stay away from any downed power lines. Always presume the downed power line is live and extremely dangerous.”
In anticipation of the storm, NIPSCO has added staff at its call center to minimize wait times. It has also opened its emergency operations center in Merrillville, scheduled extra work crews to handle system problems, put work crews in the field to monitor the system, and postponed scheduled work that would require equipment to be out of service.
NIPSCO plans to be in contact with public officials if problems arise.
The utility asks people to make sure that any family members on life support have a back-up power supply, stay informed about the weather and learn how to open and close automatic garage doors manually without power.
The company also advises people to keep an emergency kit with flashlights, first aid kits, non-perishable food items, a three-day supply of bottled water and a cell phone.
Repairs to lines that serve smaller groups of customers can’t be made until the larger lines feeding electricity to those areas are repaired, NIPSCO said. The company warned that if roads are impassable, the power restoration process may be impacted until roads are clear.