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AEP: Power outages to be resolved today

Published 10:14am Friday, January 30, 2009

The majority of American Electric Customers customers in Ironton and Chesapeake should get power restored by the end of today.

That’s according to Karl Boyd, AEP vice president of distribution operations. Boyd and Terri Flora, director of corporate communications, held a media conference call Thursday afternoon to give updates on the massive restoration effort going on since the ice and snow storms that hit Ohio this week.

“We are making progress,” Flora said.

Overall approximately 155,000 customers were originally affected. As of Thursday afternoon, that figure was cut by about 43 percent.

The state was hit on Tuesday with a significant winter storm that brought up to six inches of snow to some places. That was quickly followed by a drop in temperatures and rain that covered the area with ice.

“We are still facing down power lines. Power lines that are live,” she said, stressing that there are times when the live lines entangled in a tree may look like branches.

Flora also stressed that generators being used as an alternative energy source can be dangerous if not installed properly.

As power is restored, an overload situation can occur when appliances and equipment that was on when the power went off remain on. When power is restored, numerous appliances coming on at once can cause an overload.

“We encourage our customers to be diligent,” she said. “If the power is out past 48 hours, look to where they have left the power on and turn those off.”

Leaving a light or two on will notify the customer when the power comes back without putting a heavy load on the system.

“Crews are facing difficult field conditions,” Boyd said.

Heavy snows and falling tree limbs are the source of injuries.

Normally personnel numbers 300 for line work and 200 to work on trees.

“We have added 800 more to get service restored,” Boyd said.

As of 8 a.m. Friday morning, approximately 5,700 (30 percent) of Buckeye REC’s customers are still without power.

“The ice that remains on the trees is still causing off right of way trees to fall on to power lines breaking poles and cross arms,” Tonda Meadows, executive vice resident and general manager.

“We have 11 outside line crews and 16 tree cutting crews in addition to Buckeye’s crews working to restore power. Our hardest hit area, western Jackson County and eastern Pike County, had additional snow this morning adding more weight to the ice and snow that was already breaking trees.

“Buckeye REC still has two substations (Athens and Vinton counties) and one metering point (McArthur) that are without a power source. We understand several transmission structures are down. Buckeye does not own the transmission line, but we have been told crews are on their way to make repairs.

BREC officials are estimating that some areas may not be back on until Sunday or Monday.

This is based on the amount of time it is taking to get sections of line back on. Times vary depending upon the severity of the damage we encounter.

As far as predictions for next week forecasters aren’t saying.

There is a storm developing that could hit on Monday night. What it will bring to the Tri-State depends on how far east or west it ends up going.

“If it takes a westerly course, we could wind up with significant snowfall,” Alan Rezek, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said this morning. “We need to wait for it to get closer. We are waiting to see how far west and the impact.

“For sure we will get snow. Most likely scenario is a few inches but not get bombed. But it is a chance we could get lot.”

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