Fred Pace, EDITOR
October 31, 2012
BOONE COUNTY, W.Va. -- Although some power has been restored in Boone County, many are still without it, according to figures released today (Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012) by Appalachian Power.
As of Wednesday morning, the number of Boone County customers without power was 10,489 of 12,938, or 81.1 percent of all customers in the county. The power company has given no date when they think power will be restored, but there have been reports that power has been restored in some parts of the Van and other areas of the county.
Shelters are open in Boone County, including the Fountain of Life Church in Rock Creek; Racine Fire Department; Morrisvale Community Center; Orgas Community Center; and the Madison Memorial Building. A complete listing of shelters open in West Virginia can be found online at http://www.governor.wv.gov/pages/shelters.aspx
Appalachian Power released a prepared statement saying, Preparation for this storm began last Friday. Appalachian Power has declined requests to send crews to the Northeast so that all resources can be devoted to restoring power here. At the same time, additional crews were secured for our own restoration efforts from our six sister companies within AEP.
The power company said on Monday, it staged hundreds of contractors along with its own employees in the storm areas.
Because this storm covers a very broad geographic area and millions of people are without power nationwide, securing additional resources will be difficult beyond what we already have in place, the company said in its press release. Ongoing inclement weather is also making it difficult to assess damage to some of our electrical facilities. Appalachian is dealing with significant transmission damage which is typically assessed by helicopter. However, crews are having to assess damage by 4-wheel-drive and ATV vehicles, and even by foot patrol in the most remote, mountainous regions of our territory until it is safe to fly a helicopter. In addition, shorter daylight hours mean less time to perform damage assessments and to safely restore power. These complications will hamper the pace of power restoration.
Below is Appalachian Powers Status Of Restoration Efforts.
As of 7:30 p.m., more than 13,000 customers in Virginia and an additional 146,000 customers in West Virginia are without electric service as a result of the storm. Outages peaked today around noon at approximately 182,000 customers.
Our early assessments indicate extensive damage to both the distribution and transmission systems.
More than 40 distribution substations, 90 circuit breakers and approximately 47 transmission lines remain out of service. Transmission lines typically run from power generating plant-to station and station-to-station.
Until assessors can provide a clearer picture of the amount of damage caused by the storm, we are unable to provide specific restoration estimates with any degree of accuracy in most areas. However, similar to after this summer's Derecho, some customers could experience extended outages.
Restoration estimates have been determined for the following areas:
Christiansburg , Fieldale, Rocky Mount, Stewart, Wytheville Late tonight
Floyd, Glen Lynn, Pulaski and Woodlawn 4 p.m. Wednesday
Glade Spring, Roanoke Wednesday night
Lebanon, Tazewell Thursday night
We currently have more than 1,100 company and contract line mechanics and more than 250 damage assessors dedicated to service restoration.
Predicted snow accumulation totals in certain areas has increased since this morning.
Snow totals of 10 to 20 inches over eastern West Virginia by daybreak Wednesday with 45 mph wind gusts are aggravating the situation.
Wet snow will also accumulate up to 12" in mountains around Charleston, WV.
Heavy snow will also continue in the mountains along the KY - VA border with up to 16" storm totals over higher elevations.
HOW WE PRIORITIZE RESTORATION EFFORTS
Safety is our highest priority. Once outages occur, damage assessment begins as soon as the weather passes to the point that it is safe for workers to be in the field. Service restoration is handled by priority meaning essential public safety facilities are repaired first followed by trouble areas affecting the most customers. From there, small of customers are repaired and then individual homes and businesses.
We will be in contact with emergency management agencies, elected officials and state regulatory commissions, making them aware of our preparations.
A "snapshot" view of current outages is available anytime at AppalachianPower.com. Go to the Outages and Problems section of the site and click "View Outage Map."
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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.
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.
Electric consumers are asked to report their outage again if they have not called within the past 24 hours. This will ensure that all consumers' electricity is restored as quickly as possible.
We will be in contact with emergency management agencies, local elected officials and state regulatory commissions, making them aware of our restoration efforts. We will continue to provide information to you as we have more information about the weather forecast.
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