By Bobby Bordelon
Ice storms in West Virginia caused concern for residents after power outages occurred across the Mountain State that were similar to those seen in Texas on Sunday, February 21. However, most of the lines have been repaired as of Monday, February 22.
Greenbrier County Emergency Management Assistant Director Paula Brown explained the outages:
“The [Sunday outage] was just a parts/system failure at a Mon Power substation that cascaded into numerous failures from Pocahontas County to Lewisburg to Clintonville,” she said. “All of the ‘grey-outs’ we had that appeared to be Mon Power, but were actually due to a feeder line from APCO/Dominion are now resolved. The major issue was primarily APCO with so many transmission lines down statewide. Those are still being repaired in other counties to get the whole grid back up to full capacity.”
The Greenbrier County 911 Center took a number of calls as the power was out, but no serious injuries have been reported. Many of the calls were for those in need of mobile oxygen whose supply ran out.
“Outage at 7 a.m. and full recovery by 12:30 p.m.,” wrote Brown. “The only issues that we are aware of are some trailers on the western end (APCO) that were down earlier and just getting the pipes unfrozen.”
Across the state, outages are still being reported as crews deal with the damage.
“Power has been restored to 75% of customers who lost service in back-to-back ice storms that hit the state Feb. 11 and 15,” announced Appalachian Power in a February 22 press release. “Outages peaked at 97,000 customers and now have dropped to approximately 24,000, with even more customers expected to see power restored before the end of today.”
According to Mon Power’s outage map (www.firstenergycorp.com/outages_help/current_outages), less than 20 of their roughly 18,000 customers should still be without power in Greenbrier County.
West Virginia Emergency Management (WVEM) asked for anyone without power to call to make a report:
Appalachian Power – 800-956-4237
Potomac Edison or Mon Power – 888-544-4877
In addition, WVEM issued guidance on what to do when a line goes down:
– Immediately report downed wires to your utility company or your local police or fire department.
– Never go near a down power line, even if you think it’s no longer carrying electricity.
– Stay more than 30 feet away from down power lines, don’t walk or drive near or over a downed line, and watch out for anything touching the line. If a wire falls on a vehicle, passengers should stay inside until help arrives.
In the Monday COVID-19 press briefing, Governor Jim Justice also thanked all the emergency responders and workers who have been working to restore power.
“I want to send a big thank you to all of the workers that are responding to the damage from the winter storms last week,” said Justice. “We in West Virginia, … we have responded to so much, yet we continue to step up. Our police and our fire and our EMS and our DOH, National Guard, power companies, emergency management, utility companies, and … it just goes on and on. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”