Planned power outages bring upgrades to local power system

While Pocahontas County residents were coping without lights, appliances, television, and other comforts of electricity during the recent planned outages, Mon Power was making important improvements that will hopefully restore power more quickly during the winter months.

The $600,000 project will help to identify the source of downed power lines. Work will be completed on the Linwood and Durbin substations this year and into 2015, says company spokesperson Todd Meyers.

“It’s called fault detection equipment and it can help very quickly pinpoint the location of a problem, and that way crews will have a very – instead of looking for a needle in a haystack – you’re looking in a very condensed area and you can find the problem more quickly. You’re looking in a much more condensed area and you can find the problem more quickly.”

Downed power lines will no longer require extensive search missions.

“It can give us a pretty good idea about where that is as opposed to, we know there’s a problem on that line and then we do traditionally do something called patrolling the line, and that’s not too hard to do when the line runs next to the road, because you just drive down and visually see the problem, but as you know there a lot of times the line departs from the road and then it becomes a walking exercise and our linemen are great and they’re in good shape and they can do that,” he said.

“It gets more difficult in the dead of winter when you’ve got four feet of snow on the ground and then it becomes something that takes longer to do. So that’s what that kind of equipment will do,” he said.

The project also includes extensive tree trimming along the length of the 47-mile, 69,000 volt transmission line serving nearly 6,000 customers in the Marlinton and Snowshoe Mountain Resort areas of Pocahontas County.

“We’ve cut about 75 or 80 percent of that line, gone back in there and really looked for trees that are leaning or trees that are hanging over, limbs that are hanging over and have cleared them all out … That is an important facet of what we did there and that will be an ongoing facet,” he said. “You’ll see a lot of us in Pocahontas County doing that kind of work.”

Meyers says he appreciates the community’s patience during the outages.

“We needed to turn off the power so we could work safely and we did a lot of work,” he said.

Story By

Kelly Taber

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