Locals Suffer in Summer Heat Following Power Outages
From staff reports
Despite record high temperatures in the area sweltering in the area, many local residents have been suffering without electrical power since late last week.
Appalachian Power has been dealing with significant weather-related outages across its West Virginia and Virginia service areas.
The company was able to restore service on Sunday to its customers in the Gate City area.
In Virginia, 12,000 of the company’s half million customers were without service. Restoration in the hardest hit areas of Roanoke, Lynchburg and Lovingston has continued and is taken longer because of significant damage to the company’s facilities.
Appalachian officials said restoration in those areas was expected to be finished on Monday.
“We had about 5,100 people working in the field and as crews finish up in certain areas, they shifted to places still needing help,” said Phil Wright, vice president of distribution. “We will not lessen the pace until everyone is back in service. This is an all-hands-on-deck effort.”
The July 6 storm was part of a massive straight line wind storm that traveled close to 700 miles in 10 hours, devastating 10 states and leaving more than 4.3 million customers without electric service throughout the United States.
Company and state officials are characterizing the storm as similar to or even greater than a hurricane, but without advance warning. The storm produced winds in excess of 75 miles-per-hour and heavy rain across a large portion of Appalachian Power's service territory.
Appalachian Power’s restoration efforts were on target to reach 95 percent complete by Sunday night. Unfortunately, severe thunderstorms that moved through parts of the company's territory caused 30,000 new customers to lose power.
In West Virginia, 38,000 of the company’s half-million customers were without electric service.
In Virginia as of July 8, 4,600 of the company's half-million customers remained without electric service.
The Sunday storm marked the fourth major thunderstorm in the company’s service area since the June 29 restoration began. The thousands of out-of-state line workers here to restore electric service will remain in the area until all customers are back in service.
Since the initial storm on June 29, there were three additional storms that caused thousands more to lose power. Totals include: 30,000 on Sunday, 6,000 on Tuesday and 40,000 on Thursday.
More than 90 distribution substations were taken out by the storm and all of those have been repaired. Twelve new station outages occurred as a result of the July 8 storm and all but one has been restored.
More than 370 circuit breakers were taken out of service due to the storm and all but three are back in service. Forty-one new circuit outages occurred as a result of the July 8 storm and two breakers remain out.
Repairs to more than 100 transmission lines are nearly complete, although additional damage was caused from the July 8 storm but repairs are underway.
At least 1,100 poles across Appalachian’s territory were broken and needed to be replaced and thousands of spans of wire were damaged. On average, it takes a crew of three or four people approximately four hours to replace a single pole.
More than 5,100 line professionals and other workers are working to restore power.
Appalachian secured help from 22 states and crews are working in every part of the service territory.
According to Appalachian Power, outages are restored by priority. Critical community infrastructure, such as hospitals, water and sewer stations are given highest priority. Then, priority is given to outages that will restore the largest number of customers when a repair is made.