American Electric Power (AEP) Ohio confirmed that more than 6,200 customers were affected beginning at approximately 5 p.m. Power was restored to approximately 2,400 customers at around 10 p.m., including the Gallipolis Daily Tribune, which was in the process of printing weekend newspapers when the power went out. The remaining 3,800 customers regained power just after midnight.
Rumors have run rampant on web sites like Facebook about the cause of the outage, including claims of copper theft, meth lab explosions and power plant accidents, but officials with the Gallia County 911 Dispatch and AEP dismiss these explanations.
"Turns out that we found a wire that burned open at our Addison station," said Jeff Rennie, spokesman with AEP Ohio. "It does not appear to be copper theft at this time. That was in the original report, but we don't suspect that."
Rennie explained that when the faulty wire burned on a panel at the Addison substation it caused a chain reaction which resulted in damage to a lightning arrester at the Hanners substation in Gallipolis. The combined damage is to blame for the magnitude of the outage, according to AEP Ohio.
Rennie said that non-weather-related outages occur periodically, but they are not frequent.