Appalachian Power expects significant progress over weekend

HURRICANE, W.Va. — Appalachian Power Company has informed most of its customers all service should be restored by early next week.

Communications from the company indicated residents of Jackson, Lincoln, Mason, and Putnam County will have all service restored by Monday evening. Those in Cabell and Wayne County will be fully restored by Tuesday evening.

“Now that’s the overall restoration effort, but thousands of customers will be getting back on each day from now until that time,” said Company Spokesman Phil Moye.

As of noon Friday, the company still had roughly 50,000 customers without service. Some of those, fewer than 5,000, have been without power since the original storm struck on the night of February 10th. The company has prioritized their restoration when and wherever possible, but Moye added the level of damage from the winter storms this week is rare.

“It really is devastation in some areas, it’s just not widespread. In those areas where we have trees down, it is Derecho like,” he said.

Some county emergency mangers have compared the level of damage to the Derecho which left people out of power for almost two weeks, but was an event which impacted almost 90 percent of West Virginia residents.

Moye added more help is on the way. Between the two ice storms West Virginia endured in the past week and a half, an ice storm also hit the company’s service territory in neighboring Virginia. Crews have completed most of the work there and are now headed to West Virginia.

“We’ve built temporary housing for them near the Huntington Mall. There are about 400 workers coming in to join the effort from Virginia,” he said.

The temporary housing is necessary because so many who were without power quickly filled up hotel rooms for miles. Some crews from out of state were sleeping in their trucks, prompting the encampment near the mall in Barboursville to give them some rest.

Nerves are starting to fray and many are starting to lash out. Moye said it was completely understandable.

“We want those customers back on just as bad as they want to be back on. I certainly empathize with those folks who are out of power and have been for a while,” he said.