Restoring power in WV poses challenges
A helicopter hovers low over the wooded area surrounding the Sandstone exit off interstate 64
July 3, 2012 ·
Almost half of Appalachian Power Customers in West Virginia remain without power. It could be as long as Sunday before everyone is back on the grid and residents want to know what’s taking so long.
Electricity often comes from coal fired power plants, but Appalachian Power spokesman Phil Moye explains, it still has a long way to go.
“When it leaves the power plant it travels along large transmission lines," Moye said, "where it’s most efficiently carried to substations."
"From the substation the voltage is reduced and it’s carried on what we call distribution lines that ultimately takes the power to people’s homes and businesses."
A helicopter hovers low over the wooded area surrounding the Sandstone exit off interstate 64. The bottom reads “utilities evaluation.” Appalachian Power is utilizing helicopters to evaluate transmission and distribution lines along wooded, mountainous areas.
Moye says, there are basically three groups that get to work right after the storm; one group to assesses the damage, another group works to remove known public safety hazards, and line mechanics work to restore large or critical infrastructures like hospitals or water plants.
Moye says assessing the situation by air is the only option for much of West Virginia.
“The way we assess our transmission lines is with helicopters," he said, "because those lines cover very remote hard to access areas and the only efficient way to take a look at those and see what type of damage we have is to do that by air with helicopters.”
After finding more than 90 different transmission lines in need of repair, by Tuesday Moye says crews repaired more than 50 spots.
“And at the same time we’re working on our distribution system to make sure that once the transmissions all fixed and the substations," he said, "we can get energized again that we can begin to get distribution customers on.”
Moye is asking residents to be patient. The massive force of the storm creates a heavy workload and crews are doing the best they can.