Power outages decline

ELECTRIC power outages in Eastern Ohio have declined dramatically, but full restoration for some American Electric Power customers might not occur until Monday afternoon although it could be earlier.

However, 90 percent of the AEP customers in the Belmont County and Wheeling areas are expected to have electrical service by Sunday at midnight.

Almost all of the South Central Power Co. customers, who experienced outages, are expected to have electrical service by the end of today although a few individual outages might extend into Saturday morning or early afternoon, according to Ed Kindler, vice president of customer services for South Central.

Shelly Clark of AEP said great strides were made in restoring power to customers throughout the night. “Some worked continuously. They weren’t leaving until they got those customers back on,” she said.

“We’re keeping restoration times but additional crews are coming into those areas (Belmont County and Wheeling areas),” she said.

As of Thursday afternoon, about 24,086 AEP customers were without electricity. That figure included customers in the Steubenville area where power has been restored.

Originally, it was thought that full restoration might not occur until Saturday, but that was changed to Monday. “We had to push that back because of transmission issues,” said Clark, who noted the transmission problems are expected to be resolved today.

The transmission lines feed into the service stations, which serve customers.

With the transmission issues resolved, crews can concentrate on the distribution system.

Outages in the Steubenville area were pretty much restored as of early today although a few individual outages could extend into later this morning or early afternoon, according to Clark. Crews from that area were being sent to the Wheeling area.

With other districts served by AEP completing their work, those crews will be coming to the Belmont County and Wheeling areas, Clark said.

As of early today, AEP reported 7,120 outages in Belmont County, 4,836 in Ohio County, 3,487 in Marshall County and 266 in Noble County.

Nearly 4,000 South Central Power Co. customers were without electrical service Thursday, but that was reduced to 1,082, according to today’s figures.

Kindler said all of the big outages where 200-300 customers are on one line have been repaired.

“All of our efforts today are focused on the Barnesville area,” he said. The Barnesville Division includes Belmont, Monroe, Harrison, Jefferson and Noble counties.

Kindler explained there are a lot of trees on lines and several broken poles, and in many instances, these lines serve three to four consumers and take longer to fix.

As of this morning, 565 South Central customers in Belmont County were without electricity while 435 in Monroe County, 37 in Harrison County, 27 in Jefferson County and 18 in Noble County were experiencing outages.

Repair work is being helped by good weather and extra crews from other areas as well as contract crews, according to Kindler.

“I really feel we’ve discovered all the problems and know what has to be done,” he added. “That takes the guesswork out of it.”

Pokas can be reached at timesleader@timesleaderonline.com.