Mon Power Storm Outage Update
On Thursday we contacted Mon Power Spokesman Todd Meyers and obtained the latest information about where we stand with the power outages from Wednesday’s severe thunderstorms.
“What we’ve seen in West Virginia are these same storms that rumbled across the Mid-West that caused lots of tornados and mayhem in places like Illinois and Missouri” said Meyers. “what really caused the lasting damage was a very organized line of storms that probably swept through the State between 10 and 1 p.m. They had damaging winds probably in excess of 65 mph in certain spots. They travelled very quickly, but they tended to take down many trees that are off right-a-way trees, broke branches, in some cases we have utility poles on the ground. We have transmission lines, that are larger lines, that are impacted that also had either some poles broken or cross arms on top of the poles broken – some damage we need to fix before we get distribution lines that depend on those transmission lines hot and energized again. So, at the height of this, we had some 47 thousand customers throughout Mon Power’s area affected.
The guys did a very fine job yesterday. It’s some very trying conditions. Got about 32 thousand of those customers restored. And where we’re sitting right now State-wide is about 13 thousand plus out. We got about another eleven hundred customers out across the State in the overnight hours. So that leaves us with a lot of work to do still over the next couple of days.
In addition to all the crews we have in the Mon Power area, we transferred line crews into more hard hit areas in the southern part of the state. We’ve been able to bring in an additional 150 linemen to help work in the different areas. And I know some are targeted for the Elkins area (and) the Pocahontas – Marlinton area.
In Pocahontas County, I think I saw that we that we probably had as many as 3000 customers out at one point after that line of storms moved through. And I am happy to report today (Thursday) that that number has been trimmed significantly. We are down to about 316 customers out.
Randolph County, we have about 1300 customers out, and dropping down to Greenbrier County, we’ve made some significant progress. I know yesterday we might have had 2 or 3 thousand customers out, we’re down to about 810 customers now. So there’s still hard work to do. When you get at this point in a storm, and there is wide spread damage, a lot of times it’s just a lot of physical labor just to get pockets of one, two, three customers back in. so that’s what’s going to take us some time, just getting all those smaller pockets of customers back on. But it could be until sometime Saturday evening before we have just about everyone back on. It doesn’t mean that everyone is going to be waiting that long, it just means that particularly if you’re at the end of a line, that’s about when the last customers will be brought back in.
For areas where we can’t get trucks, they have tracks. They look like a bull dozer – lunar rover kind of contraption and they have augurs on them and they can drill down and they have arms to pick the pole up and set the pole. So we use those types of things.
Helicopters are patrolling the lines. Yo know, some of these transmission lines and even some of the distribution lines, they stretch for miles and miles and miles and they go over mountains and very rugged and nasty terrain. We couldn’t fly some of yesterday because the wind was still kicking up and we had foot patrols. Basically that means damage assessors taking a long walk and a long hike. In some instances they were able to find problems, in other instances the problems were beyond the length they could walk, so it’s important to get the helicopters up.
We are still finding hazards out there. Whenever you have a wind storm like this; whenever you have lots of line on the ground,- and we do- I would just caution your listeners to stay away from them, keep your kids away from them. They can harm you and even be deadly if they are energized. Treat em like they are energized. And if you have a tree or branches on your wire at home don’t try and remove them yourself. That can also be a very tragic mistake. Just call us at ‘1-888-lightss’ with two S’s and leave it to us to get those removed. Just stay safe.”