According to Appalachian Power’s Web site, the snow combined with freezing rain and broke trees and brought down power lines in parts of AEP’s West Virginia service area, leaving more than 46,000 customers without electric service, including 5,018 customers in Mason County as of 4 p.m. Thursday. The heaviest damage to electric facilities came in western counties along the Ohio River and in the Kanawha Valley.
Phil Moye of AEP said almost half of Mason County was without power Thursday morning, including the City of Point Pleasant and most of the rural areas in the county. He added that many of those customers did not lose power until Wednesday.
Moye described the transmission lines, which are the metal towers that carry higher power, as the main cause of the outage.
“At least two (transmission lines) are down right now,” Moye said. “The bad thing is that they are sometimes difficult to fix, but the good thing is that when we get it fixed we will be able to restore (power) to thousands of customers.”
As of press time Thursday, AEP projected that power would be restored by Saturday in many areas.
On Thursday AEP crews worked on the transmission lines, and Moye said work to restore power began Thursday morning because it was difficult to work on transmission lines in the dark.
“We are hoping to get the lines up and running,” Moye said.
He added that crews were out Thursday patrolling lines by foot and helicopter to assess the severity of the damage and power outages.
“Once we determine all the places (without power), we will be able to address (the issue),” Moye said.
Moye suggested that customers without power use an alternative source of heat or a generator if available. If alternative sources aren’t available, he suggested seeking shelter at a friend’s or relative’s house with power. A temporary shelter at the National Guard Armory in Point Pleasant was available as well.
As of Thursday, most of the Bend Area had power. Both the Town of New Haven and Town of Mason city buildings were open and running normally. According to New Haven treasurer and water clerk Pat Paugh, the power flickered Wednesday but had been fine since.
Mason Mayor Mindy Kearns reported a similar situation and said power was operating efficiently Thursday in the city building and the town. Kearns did report that there was a small outage in part of town Tuesday evening, but power has since been restored within the municipality.
As of press time Thursday, electricity had been restored to the majority of Point Pleasant. According to AEP’s Web site, ice has continued to weigh down trees in some areas, causing more trees to break and fall into power lines, which have enabled new outages as a result.
The status of power restoration efforts will be periodically updated on AEP’s Web site, www.aep.com. For more information, call AEP West Virginia Customer Service at 800-982-4237.