OHIO VALLEY — Getting closer.
The tri-county area is getting closer to complete restoration of power following severe storms which took place one week ago.
Down from nearly 90 percent of customers in the area without power, Gallia, Mason and Meigs counties are all below 42 percent of residents without power.
Mason County has the largest number of residents without power as of Thursday afternoon, with 6,628 (41.9 percent) without electricity.
A total of 3,848 or 33.8 percent AEP Ohio customers in Meigs County remained without power at 4 p.m. on Thursday, with an additional 171 or 13.07 percent of Buckeye Rural Electric cutomers without power.
Gallia County has the lowest percentage of customers without electric at 23.1 percent or 2,295 AEP Ohio customers without electricity. Buckeye Rural Electric is also reporting 141 customers (2.9 percent) in Gallia County without electricity.
The vast majority of Meigs County is scheduled to have power restored by midnight Friday evening, with a small porition of northeast Meigs County projected to have power restored on Thursday night.
In Gallia County, projections are scattered depending on the area. Restoration dates range from Thursday, July 5 to Tuesday, July 10.
In Mason County, power is projected to be restored by Saturday night.
A statement on Thursday by Buckeye Rural Electric Cooperative (BREC) regarding the restoration efforts read in part:
Buckeye Rural Electric Cooperative (BREC) line crews received word of a small setback last night (Wednesday) in their restoration efforts. The Pine Ridge substation lost power again last night due to the transmission line serving that station losing power. BREC has not yet heard when the transmission line will be back on. Once the line is energized, most of those in the area west of Jackson who had power restored after the Friday storm should come back on.
The McArthur area is another issue for BREC. The distribution lines in that area are fed by lines that are not operated or controlled by BREC. Once those lines are energized the majority of the McArthur area should be restored.
The line crews are now concentrating on getting the smaller groups of members back on. “This is taking time,” stating Joe Skidmore, Line Supervisor for BREC. “This storm caused so much wide-spread damage that we are forced to spread out our crews in the nine county area we serve,” continued Skidmore.
Estimates for restoration are difficult to give because of the wide-spread damage to the area. As crews move from location to location they are finding areas that must be addressed before moving forward.
“Some think ‘all they have to do is put that switch back in’. This is never the case. The line must be patrolled for problems before closing in any device,” stated Jeff Tackett, Vice President of Operations and Engineering at BREC. “The cause of the device opening must be found and corrected before it can be energized. Safety for the men and the general public must be considered in the process. An injury or damage to property is not something we can add to the restoration process. Fixing the problem can sometimes take hours and only get a few people back on,” continued Tackett.
BREC hopes to have a number of members restored today, but the process is getting slower as we have smaller pockets of residents that are still without power. BREC wants all of our members to understand that we are working as fast as possible to restore power to everyone.
A story published in Thursday’s Gallipolis Daily Tribune indicated that only two streets in Gallipolis were currently without power as of the previous press time. According to a call from a Gallipolis resident, nine homes on Halliday Heights are also without power as of press time.