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During Sunday outage: 'Plenty of light in the darkness'

During Sunday outage: 'Plenty of light in the darkness'

December 18th, 2017 by Rick Brown and Gerry Tritz in News

As members of First Assembly of God filed into the 8:30 a.m. service, some used the light of their cell phones to find their way to the pews.

The church, located at 1900 Route C, was one of the 1,600 customers of Ameren Missouri in Jefferson City and Wardsville without electricity for about three hours Sunday due to an Ameren Missouri power outage.

Pastors greeted people at the door, assuring them — electricity or no electricity — the worship service would be held.

Debbie Hamler, a member of the church, said Pastor Lowell Perkins welcomed the congregation, telling them "there's plenty of light in the darkness — meaning of course that the Lord is our light."

She said the service, which featured acoustic music including a piano rather than an electric organ, was "amazing."

"It was very peaceful and warm. I enjoyed it," Hamler said. "We jokingly said we should bring out the candles and make it a candlelight service."

Not everyone was able to embrace the outage as much as First Assembly. Some businesses closed, and homeowners complained on Facebook about everything from not being able to make their morning coffee to surge protectors that were fried during the power loss.

Customers showing up for breakfast or an early lunch at Perkins were greeted by a dark, closed restaurant. They were able to reopen around noon. Likewise, the outage forced Schulte's Fresh foods to close from about 8 a.m. to after 10 a.m.

"That's the start of our busy time Sunday mornings," shift manager Darrel Luebbert said. "It hit us pretty hard at that time."

The store is known for its doughnuts and pastries, among other things. Sunday morning is a peak time for doughnut sales to church-goers either before or after Sunday services.

Luebbert said fortunately the outage didn't last long enough to affect frozen or refrigerated products.

The outage was caused when an equipment problem developed in a transformer, Ameren spokesman Brian Daniels said.

Power to all but a few scattered customers had been restored by about 11 a.m.

During the height of the outage, Ameren reported 1,125 customers were without power in the area of Wardsville and adjacent areas of southern Jefferson City, while 527 customers lost electricity in an area of Jefferson City around Cedar Hill Road and McKay Park.

By 10:15 a.m., Ameren's outage map indicated only approximately 335 customers remained without power in the McKay Park area in Jefferson City. The map showed all but a few customers in the Wardsville area had regained electric service.