KINGSPORT — As of Monday afternoon, more than 146,000 power outages had been reported to AEP Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, according to the company’s website.
To respond to this need, AEP–Appalachian Power has sent 42 employees, six of whom are from the Kingsport district, to assist crews from AEP Texas and other responding companies.
“We operate with a mutual assistance-type of agreement between not just our AEP company, but also with other utilities throughout the country,” said John Shepelwich, AEP spokesman. “It’s basically we help you when you have these disasters, and you help us when we have a disaster.”
The 42 Appalachian Power employees left for Texas on Sunday morning and were expected to arrive late Monday night or early Tuesday morning. Shepelwich said they will be working on the southern coast of the state near Corpus Christi and Brownsville.
Currently, AEP Texas is still assessing the damage caused by the hurricane. Because of this, Shepelwich said he is unsure how long the employees from Appalachian Power will be needed.
Among the responding employees are circuit coordinators, forestry teams, line crews and safety coordinators, which Shepelwich said are familiar with disaster response.
“This is something we do on a regular basis and something that those people would do for us in the same situation,” Shepelwich said. “Our line people and forestry and circuit coordinators do this on a regular basis, and they do a great job. We hope and pray they stay safe.”