Gahanna, Ohio (Sept. 14, 2008) – AEP Ohio continues to assess the widespread damage caused by a major wind storm that swept through the company´s service territory and throughout the state on Sunday, Sept. 14.
At the height of the storm, AEP Ohio estimates that more than 650,000 AEP Ohio customers from western Ohio to the Ohio Valley are without power and approximately 300,000 are located in central Ohio. This number has increased throughout the day as customers have reached the company to report their outages.
AEP Ohio crews are working with contract crews and support from other utilities to help restore power as quickly and as safely as possible. In addition, more than 600 forestry workers are being brought in to help cut trees and remove debris from power lines. The additional resources in both line and forestry will more than double AEP Ohio´s current restoration complement. AEP Ohio appreciates the patience of its customers as it works to clear downed power lines and restore power.
Status of Restoration Efforts
AEP Ohio is working to restore power to all parts of the state, focusing first on emergency services and main-line circuits that serve the largest number of customers. Based on past experiences with these events, the company is estimating service restoration times of up to seven days or longer for certain parts of the state that were the hardest hit. However, the company anticipates making significant progress in its restoration efforts over the next few days.
The following estimated restoration times are being provided for the following areas. These estimates are preliminary and will be updated as restoration efforts continue.
Athens District, including the Athens, Lancaster, Marietta, Pomeroy and Wellston areas: The company anticipates customers in the Pomeroy and Marietta areas to be stored by this evening and tomorrow morning respectively. Approximately 90 percent of the customers without power in the Athens areas to be restored by midnight Tuesday, by midnight Wednesday for customers in the Wellston area, and by midnight Friday for those customers in the Lancaster area.
Canton District, including the Canton, Wooster, New Philadelphia, Coshocton areas: The company anticipates 90 percent of its customers in these areas restored by midnight Friday.
Chillicothe District, including the Ironton, Chesapeake, Hillsboro, Portsmouth, Chillicothe and Seaman areas: The company anticipates customers in the Ironton and Chesapeake areas to be stored by noon tomorrow. Approximately 90 percent of the customers without power in the Hillsboro and Seaman areas to be restored by midnight Tuesday, by midnight Wednesday for customers in the Portsmouth area, and by midnight Saturday for those customers in the Chillicothe area.
Columbus District, including Delaware, Columbus and surrounding communities: The company estimates that 90 percent of its customers in these areas will be restored by midnight Sunday. More detailed information on restoration efforts in the Columbus area will be available tomorrow.
Newark District, including the Newark, Mt, Vernon, Zanesville, Cambridge, Crooksville areas: The company anticipates 90 percent of its customers in these areas restored by midnight Sunday.
Ohio Valley District, including Wheeling, Belmont and Steubenville areas: The company anticipates 90 percent of its customers in the Wheeling and Belmont areas restored by midnight Friday and by midnight Sunday for customers in the Steubenville area.
Western Ohio District, including the Van Wert, Kenten, Tiffin, Findlay and Lima areas: The company anticipates 90 percent of its customers in the Van Wert and Kenten areas to be restored by midnight Tuesday and by midnight Wednesday for remaining areas.
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.
In the event of a major power interruption, life-support customers are encouraged to contact AEP Ohio’s toll-free customer service number to advise our representatives of their situation. Due to the nature of restoration activity, AEP Ohio cannot assure priority restoration for life-support customers. Life-support customers are advised to take precautionary measures to protect themselves in the event of a power loss. Contact relatives or friends for assistance or temporary accommodations in the event of a prolonged outage. Keep emergency phone numbers (physicians, hospitals, safety services, utilities) posted near your telephone.
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.
Customers are reminded that during storm restoration situations, AEP Ohio tree crews clear rights of way of trees and move on to the next location. AEP Ohio does not return to remove the cut trees. Property owners are responsible for brush removal.
AEP Ohio cannot connect power to any home or business where there is damage to the service entrance. The service entrance is the area located 1) at the meter, 2) between the meter and the home’s electrical panel, or 3) the location where AEP Ohio’s cable connects to the home/business owner’s cable. Customers need to have a qualified electrician repair this damage before power can be restored to the home or business.
AEP Ohio provides electricity to nearly 1.5 million customers of major AEP subsidiaries Columbus Southern Power Company and Ohio Power Company in Ohio, and Wheeling Power Company in the northern panhandle of West Virginia. AEP Ohio is based in Gahanna, Ohio. The company serves all or part of 61 counties in Ohio and two in West Virginia.
American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP’s transmission system directly or indirectly serves about 10 percent of the electricity demand in the Eastern Interconnection, the interconnected transmission system that covers 38 eastern and central U.S. states and eastern Canada, and approximately 11 percent of the electricity demand in ERCOT, the transmission system that covers much of Texas. AEP’s utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.