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Appalachian Power says all customers should have electricity by Monday night

Wes Bunch • Jan 21, 2013 at 8:52 AM

KINGSPORT — Appalachian Power was expecting all of its customers to have their service restored by Monday night after thousands went days without electricity due to outages resulting from last week’s heavy snow.

Appalachian Power Kingsport District Manager Isaac Webb said crews were finishing up work on the final outages Monday, with all customers in Wise County and Sullivan County having their power restored.

About 80 customers in the Hiltons and Boozy Creek areas of Scott County were still without power as of Monday afternoon, but Webb said their service would be restored “by late (Monday) evening.”

Those repairs were made as temperatures in the low teens were expected in the region for both Monday night and tonight.

Webb said nearly 50,000 customers in Appalachian’s Kingsport District lost power in the aftermath of last week’s storm, which dumped anywhere from 5 to 12 inches of snow in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

“In my district, we had a maximum of almost 48,000 customers out,” Webb said. “We have visited about 1,200 separate outage cases in that area since Friday morning.”

Just over 14,500 of those customers without power were in Kingsport alone, Webb said, with another 5,500 in Scott County.

In the larger Appalachian service area, about 130,000 customers lost power.

Webb said the work was carried out by nearly 1,000 Appalachian employees and contractors who worked on addressing outages in the utility’s Kingsport District.

Although the snow fell Thursday night, Webb said road conditions kept crews from beginning work until the following morning.

“I’ve not witnessed an effort like this, ever, and I’ve been working with the company for 33 years,” Webb said. “We were able to get resources into town as the storm was just starting up. On Friday morning, we were able to start in earnest getting stuff back online. Everyone did a great job of directing the resources to the problems and getting the problems fixed.”

Webb said the pace of restoration was all the more impressive given the amount of damage Appalachian’s infrastructure received from the snowfall.

“The amounts of snow measured 3 inches in some areas and 6 inches in others, but it was all heavy and wet and it varied dramatically with a little change in elevation,” Webb said. “Most of our problems were caused by trees, not necessarily in our right of way, falling over into the power lines.”

Webb said he didn’t expect the low temperatures forecast for this week to cause major problems with Appalachian’s service.

“Low temperatures will sometimes uncover weak spots in your system ...,” Webb said. “I’d be surprised if we don’t have some problems out of the really, really cold weather... but I don’t think we’re going to be looking at massive problems affecting everybody.”

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