Just under 10,000 customers who lost power in historic back-to-back ice storms that hit the state Feb. 11 and 15 remain without service, according to a news release from Appalachian Power on Wednesday evening.
The news release continues below:
At the height of the weather event, 97,000 customers lost power. As crews make repairs, they continue to encounter storm-related issues as damaged trees in saturated soil continue to topple. As an example, several hundred customers lost service again today after a weakened tree fell on the wire in the Hurricane area. Power is expected to be restored to these customers by 10 p.m. tonight.
Crews today focused their work on smaller outages affecting fewer customers. Roughly 400 line crews, along with almost 200 tree trimming crews, plus assessors, crew guides, flaggers and safety personnel make up the work force of 2,500 people restoring power in the six counties hardest hit by the storms, including Cabell, Jackson, Lincoln, Mason, Putnam and Wayne counties.
Assessment teams estimate that 600 broken poles and roughly 2,400 spans of wire must be replaced to restore all customers to service. Drones continue to uncover more damage, including downed wire and transformers, broken and splintered cross arms, poles, transmissions towers and other equipment.
Special Focus on Small Outages
· Around 1,000 different outage cases have been identified, with repairs needed at each before power can be restored.
· Of these outage cases, only five have more than 100 customers. The rest of the outages affect only a few customers.
· The company is placing special focus on these small outages to ensure all necessary human and material resources are dedicated to restoring power to those customers.
· Customers still out of power should check where service comes into their homes and make sure there’s no damage that would prevent their power from being restored. Customers are responsible for any repairs to the meter box and other equipment attached to their homes, not including the meter itself or the line from the pole to their home.
· As workers address smaller or individual outages, restoration times will be updated to provide customers a more customized estimate of when power will be restored to their homes. Customers can see the restoration estimate for their home on the outage map at AppalachianPower.com, the Appalachian Power app, or through text and email alerts.
West Virginia Outages by County and Restoration Estimates
· About 10,000 customers remain out of power. Counties most affected include Cabell, where 2,715 customers are without service; Jackson, 194; Lincoln, 800; Mason, 1,118; and Putnam, 1,171 and Wayne, 5,276.
· Most customers without power will have service restored by 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26.
These are estimates for overall completion. Thousands of customers will have service restored each day as work is ongoing. In isolated individual cases and outages with extensive damage, restoration may extend beyond these estimates.
Severe weather can cause power lines to snap or poles to come down. Fallen power lines are dangerous because they carry an electric current that can cause serious or fatal injury. Never touch a fallen wire, no matter how harmless it looks. And keep others away from the potential hazard as well. If you encounter fallen wires, stay away from them and immediately contact Appalachian Power.
If you use a portable or RV generator, do not plug the generator into your circuit box. Portable generators “backfeed” electricity up the line and risk the lives of repair workers and the public. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions carefully, and plug essential appliances directly into the generator.
In the event of a major power interruption, life-support customers are encouraged to contact Appalachian Power’s toll-free customer service number to advise our representatives of their situation. Due to the nature of restoration activity, Appalachian Power cannot assure priority restoration for life-support customers. Life-support customers are advised to take precautionary measures to protect themselves in the event of a power loss. Contact relatives or friends for assistance or temporary accommodations in the event of a prolonged outage. Keep emergency phone numbers (physicians, hospitals, safety services, utilities) posted near your telephone.
As they work to restore power crews are following COVID safety protocols and taking precautions to keep themselves and the communities we serve safe.
For more information
For information on a specific outage, check Appalachian Power’s Outage Map.
Customers can get specific information about their outage via text message and/or email by signing up for outage alerts at www.appalachianpower.com/alerts .
Customers who are signed up to receive outage alerts may receive a false alert saying their power is on when the main outage affecting an area is restored. If there are additional problems closer to a customer’s home, they will still be out of power and should receive another alert with that information.
Next update from Appalachian Power set for Thursday, Feb. 25, 11 a.m.