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Powered up, focus now on cleanup

With electricity restored, the focus on cleanup from the recent ice storm has turned toward the countless trees and limbs that were felled throughout the county.
The Harrison County Solid Waste District, located at 3151 Progress Blvd. in Harrison County Industrial Park in Corydon, will accept pickup truck and single-car trailer loads of tree debris ‘until the need is no longer there,’ Greg Reas, Harrison County Emergency Management Agency director, said Monday.
Debris will be accepted Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Reasonable amounts of debris will be accepted, Reas said.
While many businesses saw decreased sales in the aftermath of the storm, Eckart supply company in Corydon saw an increase, at least in generators.
In the two days after the storm, 450 generators were sold, and since then, another 150 have been purchased. A truckload of 30 generators should be in tomorrow (Thursday), but are pre-sold.
Most of the portable generators were purchased for between $399 and $749; however, 40 larger generators were sold for between $949 and $1,049. Home-use generators, which feed directly into a home’s wiring, sell for between $3,500 and $20,000. In addition to generators, Eckart sold approximately 500 generator power cords as well as 250 extension cords.
‘I’m not that surprised with how many generators we sold. With the ice storm and the windstorm happening back to back, people want to be more prepared, and maybe they feel like the electrical service isn’t as reliable as it used to be,’ Chad Coffman, CFO of Eckart, said. ‘We really tried to get additional generators as a way to help the community, especially in the past six months. We didn’t raise our prices on them.’
Coffman said Eckart ‘ which also sells parts and does generator repair work ‘ sold generators to people in Louisville, Tell City, near Bedford, Evansville and Elizabethtown, Ky., as well as other parts of Kentucky still without power as of yesterday.
Eckart was also set to meet with homeowners in a Louisville subdivision to discuss purchasing ‘hard-wired’ generators that power homes in times of outages.
Michael Schroeder, building inspector for new construction at the Harrison County Planning and Zoning office, said owners using the larger generators that connect directly to a home’s wiring system need to get a permit from his office. Portable generators do not require a permit to use. The permit costs $25.
‘That larger type of generator needs to have a transfer switch installed to protect from back-feeding power lines and needs to be inspected,’ Schroeder said.
Some homeowners attempt to use their portable generator to provide power to a residence, but that puts electricity linemen in danger.
‘People don’t realize that a power line has 7,200 volts going through it, then the transformer brings that down to 120 volts for home use. It works backwards, too,’ Schroeder said. ‘When someone plugs their generator into a wall or an electric box, that electricity goes out of the house and up to the transformer, where it’s converted to 7,200 volts. That’s deadly to workers.’
The Indiana Department of Homeland Security is gathering damage reports from citizens, governmental entities and certain private nonprofit organizations that sustained damage caused by severe weather beginning Jan. 26.
Hoosiers can report damage online at until Tuesday. They will be asked to provide their name, address, phone number, damage to property and type of damage the property sustained.
Losses can include structural damage to businesses and homes and loss of personal property.