The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

July 2, 2012

Thefts disrupt storm recovery

Around 100,000 Appalachian Power Co. customers have had electricity restored following Friday’s massive wind and rain storm, but business is not as usual for southern West Virginia.

Numerous thefts have been reported, including a number of generator heists from the region’s largest telephone service provider.

Frontier Communications reported several generators have been stolen from their facilities since Friday’s storm.

The thefts have caused property damage and a loss of power, slowing storm recovery and negatively impacting Frontier’s ability to operate its facilities during the ongoing emergency, said Dana Waldo, Frontier’s senior vice president and general manager for West Virginia.

Frontier uses gasoline- and diesel-powered generators and batteries to power its networks when commercial power is unavailable.

“This level of lawlessness is remarkable during a statewide emergency,” Waldo said. “These thefts create significant problems for us as we strive to provide service to customers who rely on their landline telephone.”

Police are investigating the thefts, but anyone with information should notify Frontier’s security department, 800-590-6605.

The Fayette County Schools will only need essential employees for work Monday. Those needed will be contacted by their supervisor and asked to report to work.

Raleigh County Schools employees should report to work as normal. If there are questions, employees should contact their immediate supervisor to make sure facility power is on.

Power outages have brought the 51th Annual Alderson Fourth of July Celebration to a halt.

Mark Ballard, committee chairman for the event, said no activities had been held since Friday night and the committee is taking each day as it comes.

“We just have to wait to see if the power comes back up. Right now we don’t expect any events (today) but we are still shooting for Tuesday and Wednesday,” he said.

“Our intentions are to move forward and have our celebration, but right now we are just playing the waiting game,” he said.

— E-mail: splummer@register-herald.com

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