HUNTINGTON — Thousands of residents across West Virginia and eastern Kentucky remained without power Sunday due to severe winter weather.
In West Virginia, Appalachian Power said power has been restored to 70% of customers who lost power in back-to-back ice storms that hit the state Feb. 11 and 15. Approximately 28,000 customers were still without electricity Sunday. Workers were spread across the six hardest-hit counties attempting to get power back online.
Appalachian Power spokesman Phil Moye said ice is continuing to melt and fall off trees and structures with a second day of temperatures well above freezing.
“This is expected to cause a number of additional ‘rebound’ outages, as branches and power lines spring back when ice falls,” Moye said in a news release. “These setbacks are already occurring, and more are expected (Sunday).”
Appalachian Power Director of Communications Jeri Matheney said in a release that the vast number of workers has been instrumental in getting power back on as quickly as possible for customers. Matheney also credited the company’s cycle vegetation management program with significantly reducing the overall restoration time after this historic ice event while also making it safer for workers navigating difficult conditions.
Of the 28,000 customers still without power as of 6:30 p.m. Sunday, 8,988 were in Cabell County; 12,620 were in Wayne; 2,050 were in Lincoln; 1,981 were in Mason; 2,505 were in Putnam; and 1,438 were in Jackson.
Now that weather conditions have improved, helicopters were used Sunday, along with drones, to identify problems in remote areas, Moye said in the release. At least 1,400 separate locations still need repairs. Assessment teams estimate that 600 broken poles and roughly 2,400 spans of wire must be replaced to restore all customers to service.
Other items from the release:
- Over the course of these ice storms, over 100 circuits were out. That number is now reduced to nine.
- A total of 12 stations were out of service during the ice storms. Power has been restored to 11 of these.
- 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.
- A total of 27 bunkhouses are in place at the Huntington Mall to house workers, with all area hotels also filled to capacity with workers.
In the Milton area of Cabell County, Lincoln, Mason and Jackson counties, most customers without power should have service restored by 10 p.m. Monday, Feb. 22. In Wayne and the remainder of Cabell County, most customers without power should have service restored by 10 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23.
In eastern Kentucky, approximately 30,510 residents were without power, according to poweroutage.us, a website that tracks outages.
Utility officials said some of their customers are still recovering from the recent paralyzing winter weather, particularly in Boyd, Carter and Lawrence counties.
As of 2 p.m. Sunday, Kentucky Power listed 4,851 customers in Boyd County without power, as well as 2,368 in Carter County, 280 in Greenup County and 4,395 in Lawrence County.
AEP Ohio reported 1,846 customers in Lawrence County were without power Sunday.
Buckeye Rural Electric Cooperative reported that 3,515 members remained without power Sunday. In Lawrence County, 3,331 were without service, while in Gallia County, 183 remained without service.