More than 500 customers were without electricity this morning in northeast St. Joseph County and northwest Elkhart County, a spokesperson for Indiana Michigan Power said. As of 11:45 a.m. today, there were 532 customers without power, according to I&M's Web site. At 1:40 p.m., that number had dropped to 137 in St. Joseph County. A private contractor who was using a front-end loader had just cleared snow from a church parking lot at the corner of Birch and Adams in the Granger area when he left the lot and was heading south on Birch, authorities told WSBT-TV. He experienced a mechanical failure in the vehicle. This caused him to lose his power steering and hit a power pole, completely breaking it off. This caused the power outage, the I&M spokesperson said. The initial concerns were about the live downed lines, WSBT-TV reports. Ultimately, the driver was removed unharmed. A St. Joseph County sheriff's official on the scene said the arcing — with sparks and noise — was significant. I&M officials expect the problem to be fixed this afternoon. An American Electric Power repairman on the scene told WSBT-TV that there were also power lines down in Elkhart because of snow-related mishaps. AEP owns Indiana Michigan Power.