128 hours has new meaning for one WV electrical worker
July 9, 2012 ·
This weekend’s latest round of storms sent power crews scrambling to fix spots that had already been repaired. For one worker, the road to helping West Virginia recover has been a long, arduous one.
Ken Looney has been working on power lines in the Mountain State for more than a quarter of a
century. Looney says the damage from the
derecho and subsequent storms is unlike anything he’s ever seen.
“This is the worst I’ve ever saw,” Looney said.
of ’96, we had it pretty well in a weeks time, but this here won’t compare to any of the past storms that we’ve
had. Ice storm, wind storms, snow
storms, this has been the worst. Maybe
hurricanes in Florida or down south, but nothing here
could compare to it.”
Looney worked 128 hours the first week after the storms –
that’s nearly an 18 and a half hour day every day for a week. Looney says the hard part of the job is
redoing work that had already been done.
“In a lot of new locations, we put up brand new poles,”
Looney said. “In particular location, we put up three new poles, cross arms and
the wire. (Sunday’s) storm tore it all
back down in the same location.”
Looney’s the lone West Virginian on a crew working to restore
power to Charleston’s Capital Market. The
rest were called in from Tennessee the Saturday after the storm
“It’s pretty frustrating at times,” Looney said. “All we got
to do is keep on going and hope for the best.
Try to get these outages covered and get people’s lives back going.”
Officials with Appalachian Power say this weekend’s storms
knocked an additional 30,000 customers in Kanawha and Cabell counties off the
grid to bring the total back over 50,000 West Virginians without power.