AEP officials estimate Vinton County power to be restored July 10; Buckeye Rural customers July 3
GAHANNA — AEP officials estimate power will be restored to Vinton County by midnight, July 10, according to a company spokeswoman and AEP’s website.
According to AEP’s website, restoration is expected to be 90 percent restored in Wellston by midnight, July 10. The company official said Vinton and Jackson counties are included in the Wellston service area. The above map, released by AEP, shows an estimated restoration time of July 8.
This is an early estimate that could change if additional damaging weather hits the area, according to a release from AEP Ohio.
Vinton County Emergency Management Agency Director Jayson Potts said a cooling station has been set up at the Vinton County Middle School.
Other restoration times for Athens and Chillicothe service areas are: Gallipolis, midnight July 6; Lancaster, midnight July 7; Marietta, midnight July 6; Pomeroy, midnight July 6; Chillicothe, midnight July 5; Chesapeake, midnight July 4, Hillsboro, midnight July 2; Ironton, midnight July 4; and Portsmouth, midnight July 5.
Approximately 1,300 AEP Ohio and outside line resources are committed to restoring power to the 523,000 customers who remain without service from Friday’s catastrophic storm, according to the release.
At the height of the storm, thunder, lightning and high winds of more than 80 mile per hour, knocked down transmission structures, poles, power lines and trees across AEP Ohio’s service territory.
The central Ohio counties of Franklin, Delaware and Licking were the hardest hit, with approximately 345,000 customers affected. Earlier Friday, Gov. John Kasich declared a state of emergency for the entire state.
About 900 line personnel already are working in affected areas. The remaining resources are en route and will be assigned to affected areas across AEP’s service territory, the release stated. In addition, more than 300 various support personnel are engaged in the restoration effort.
This event affects not only Ohio, but much of the eastern U.S., and reports indicate this storm is a larger event than Hurricane Ike that hit in September 2008, which affected approximately 650,000 of AEP Ohio’s 1.5 million customers. During Ike, wind speeds were recorded in the 75 mph range. Restoration for the majority of the customers affected by Hurricane Ike was completed in about a week.
AEP’s latest assessment report shows there are more than 426 distribution circuits out (a distribution circuit will carry anywhere from several hundred to several thousand customers), according to the release. Crews have restored 126 of those to service. Of the 300 circuits still out, 81 are related to transmission line outages.
There are approximately 60 transmission lines down that feed the distribution system, affecting about 390,000 of the total number of customers who lost power because of the storm, according to the release.
Damage continues to be assessed on-ground and via aerial patrol. Reports of wires down and other hazards across the AEP Ohio service territory has grown from 4,700 this morning almost 9,000 tonight.
At 10 p.m. in Vinton County, 5,195 customers remained without power, which is about 90 percent of the customers in the county.
Vinton County’s Buckeye Rural customers were also affected by outages. According to their website, all 1,345 customers in Vinton County are without power at 8 p.m. Friday. The website provides an estimated restoration date of July 3.
South Central Power company officials are advising customers to be prepared for three to five days without power as crews work to restore power. As of 10 p.m. Friday, 21,000 South Central customers were without electric.
AEP reminds resident to never touch a downed utility wire, no matter how harmless it looks. It can be difficult to distinguish between a power line and a cable or telephone line. All downed lines should be considered energized and dangerous. And don’t touch anything in contact with the line, such as trees, fences or puddles of water, since they can conduct electricity. Keep children and pets away from this potential hazard. Call AEP Ohio to report any downed lines or equipment.
If you use a portable or RV generator, do not plug the generator into your circuit box. Portable generators “backfeed” electricity up the line and risk the lives of repair workers and the public. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions carefully, and plug essential appliances directly into the generator. See additional information about use of backup generators.
Please check on your affected family members and neighbors, especially the elderly, to make sure they remain safe.
AEP Ohio 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.