Electricity service has been restored to 75% of customers who lost power in back-to-back ice storms that hit the state Feb. 11 and 15, but Appalachian Power says the full extent of the damage they caused is not yet known.
In hard-hit Wayne County, a large number of customers are expected to regain service when the Wayne Station and associated circuits are restored, which was expected to happen late Monday, according to Appalachian Power. However, the estimated restoration time for all remaining customers in Wayne County, as well as those in Cabell, Jackson, Mason, Lincoln and Putnam counties was extended to 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26, based on current conditions.
Assessment teams are estimating that as many as 600 broken poles and roughly 2,400 spans of wire must be replaced to restore all customers to service.
Outages peaked at 97,000 customers and have dropped to approximately 23,000 as of Monday evening. Counties most affected include Wayne, where 11,332 customers are without service; Cabell, 6,995; Jackson, 1,214; Lincoln, 2,042; Mason, 1,698; and Putnam, 1,720.
Early Monday, a plan to use a helicopter to cut trees out of power lines over Interstate 64 near Kenova went off without a hitch, according to the West Virginia Department of Transportation.
West Virginia Division of Highways officials warned motorists in advance that the operation might require temporary road closures for those traveling east on I-64 between mile markers 1 and 6. However, Scott Eplin, District Engineer for WVDOH District 2, said that, ultimately, the road closures weren’t necessary.
“They cut it and it went like clockwork,” Eplin said in a news release. “A lot of what we did was precautionary in case things went afoul. We planned for the worst-case scenario.”