By Tim Cox
Three computers operated by the county auditor's office were severely damaged during last week's widespread power outage and must be replaced.
County officials discussed the issue during an emergency meeting of the county data processing board Tuesday. The board of county department heads oversees the county's high-tech infrastructure, such as computers, fax machines, copiers and other equipment.
Three computers in the auditor's real estate division were ruined by an apparent power surge that occurred Aug. 3. The data processing board approved the purchase of three new computers that will cost a combined $2,829.
No data was lost from the computers because information is stored on a network server, not the individual computer hard drives, county Auditor Mark Giesige said.
County officials could turn the damage claim in to their liability insurance. The county has a $500 deductible to pay before collecting any insurance benefits. Minutes of the data processing board meeting say the computers were "fried" by the power surge which came as part of the Aug. 3 blackout that lasted about three hours in Celina. All three of the damaged computers were in the county auditor's real estate division office, which still was awaiting delivery of the new computers today.
It is believed the power surge occurred when the power briefly came back on before failing again a few minutes later, Giesige said.
There were no other county computers damaged by the electrical outage. County officials believe the three computers were affected because they were on the same circuit that became overloaded just before power was lost. They were ruined despite the use of surge protectors to guard against a damaging surge of electricity.
"You never know how electricity will travel," Giesige said.
The widespread power failure, which reportedly affected 30,000 or more people, was attributed to a lightning strike on a Dayton Power & Light Co. substation near Greenville. Although power was restored within an hour to 10,000 DP&L customers, thousands of others went two more hours without power.
Celina and other Mercer County communities were directly affected because power is delivered to the area almost exclusively over DP&L-owned power lines, even in places that don't buy electricity from the company.