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Appalachian Power: 70% of power outages restored

With ice continuing to melt and fall of trees, ‘rebound’ outages are expected.
With ice continuing to melt and fall of trees, ‘rebound’ outages are expected.(AP Images)
Published: Feb. 21, 2021 at 12:00 PM EST
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - 5 PM UPDATE:

As of 5:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon, Appalachian Power says they’ve restored power to 70% of customers who lost service in the back-to-back ice storms that hit the area Feb. 11 and Feb. 15.

About 28,000 homes still do not have electricity. The six hardest hit counties are Cabell, Jackson, Lincoln, Mason, Putnam and Wayne.

Helicopters and drones were used today to identify problems in remote areas. There remain at least 1,400 separate locations where repairs are needed. Of that number, the largest outages have now been restored, only 14 of the remaining 1,400 outage cases have more than 300 customers. Temperatures did not warm as much as expected and repair work remains difficult with more problems continually identified.

Assessment teams estimate as many as 600 broken poles and 2,400 spans of wire must be replaced to restore all customers to service.

Over the course of the storm, more than 100 circuits were out, that number now down to nine.

The Wayne Station in Wayne County will be out of service until at least Monday evening due to repairs to a dozen structures that carry transmission lines to the station. Multiple crews are working to repair lines to this station, where progress is difficult due to the level of damage, the remote location, and the need to drill through rock to replace structures.

Of the hardest hit counties: Cabell, (9,697) customers are without service; Jackson (1,701) Lincoln (2,050) Mason (2,267) Putnam (2,663) and Wayne (12,354.)

Appalachian Power has a few safety messages for the community. 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.

PREVIOUS STORY: While outages across the Mountain State peaked at 97,000 customers, Appalachian Power says power has since been restored to 63,000 homes and businesses. Approximately 34,000 remain without power.

Appalachian Power says it has deployed a large workforce to concentrate on the six hardest hit counties it serves in the West Virginia: Cabell (9,799 without power), Jackson (1,500), Lincoln (3,975), Mason (2,105), Putnam (3,109), and Wayne (13,108).

With ice continuing to melt and fall of trees, ‘rebound’ outages are expected. This is because branches and power lines spring back when ice falls, according to Appalachian Power.

Sunday, Appalachian Power will be using helicopters and drones to identify problems in remote areas as the weather conditions rise well above freezing.

Appalachian Power expects to restore service to Jackson, Lincoln, Mason, and Putnam counties, along with the Milton area of Cabell County, by 10 p.m. Monday. Wayne County and the remainder Cabell County should be restored by 10 p.m. Tuesday.

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