On June 29, a derecho — a massive straight line wind storm that traveled close to 700 miles in 10 hours from northern Indiana to the Atlantic Coast — devastated 10 states, including West Virginia, leaving more than 4.3 million customers without electric service.
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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 the region.
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The pictures and the information here might help readers understand why some of them have been without electricity for more than a week.
— More than 90 distribution substations were taken out by the storm.
— More than 370 circuit breakers were taken out of service due to the storm.
— Repairs to more than 100 transmission lines are nearly complete.
— At least 500 poles across Appalachian’s territory were broken and needed replaced, and thousands of spans of wire damaged. On average, it takes a crew of three or four people approximately four hours to replace a single pole.
— Damage is extensive to both the distribution and the transmission systems.
— For your information, photo slideshow of damage: http://www.flickr.com/photos/apcophotos/
— More than 4,800 line professionals and other workers have been working for more than a week to restore power.
— Appalachian secured help from 22 states, and crews are working in every part of the service territory.
— 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.
— A “snapshot” view of current outages is available anytime at AppalachianPower.com. Go to the Outages and Problems section of the site and click “View Outage Map.”
— Appalachian Power asks customers affected by the power outage, including those who must leave their homes, to turn off all lights and appliances — including heating or air conditioning systems — to prevent circuit overload situations as power is restored to their homes. Customers should be extra cautious in making sure nothing is left cooking on kitchen ranges. One light can be left on, so customers will know when power is restored.
— Customers are reminded that during storm restoration situations, Appalachian Power tree crews clear rights of way of trees and move on to the next location. Appalachian Power does not return to remove the cut trees. Property owners are responsible for brush removal.
— Residents without power are asked not to stop crew trucks as this will only slow down repairs. Appalachian Power asks for your patience and understanding during the restoration process. In many areas, crews must rebuild significant portions of electric facilities to restore power.
— Electric consumers who have had power restored are asked to turn on their porch lights so that patrolling service technicians can better spot residences that are still without power in the neighborhood.
— Electric consumers are asked to report their outage again if they have not called within the past 24 hours. This will ensure that all consumers’ electricity is restored as quickly as possible.
— Source: Appalachian Power