DeWine declares state of emergency in Gallia, hundreds still without power

By Beth Sergent -

GALLIA COUNTY — Hundreds of residents in Gallia County were heading into the weekend still waiting for power restoration and on Friday, Gov. Mike DeWine amended his proclamation declaring a state of emergency in Lawrence County to include Gallia as well.

As previously reported, on Wednesday, DeWine issued the proclamation declaring a state of emergency in Lawrence due to dangerous and damaging conditions caused by this week’s severe winter ice storms that brought down trees and caused widespread power outages. The Ohio National Guard has been activated to help with storm cleanup. The news of this amended declaration was breaking at press time.

According to outage maps provided by Buckeye Rural Electric Cooperative (BREC), of their 5,737 members, 585 were without electricity on Friday afternoon in Gallia. The previous day, Buckeye Rural reported 949 of its customers in the county had been without service. In addition, AEP Ohio was reporting 221 of its customers in Gallia County were experiencing outages as of press time on Friday. The majority of existing outages are in southern Gallia along the Ohio River and extending along the border with Lawrence County.

On Friday morning, BREC announced via its website that an additional 1,400 members have been restored.

The statement on BREC’s website further stated: “Currently, we have two substations that are again without service from our transmission supply utility. In the meantime, we have been making repairs so that when they provide power to our substations again many of the 3,200 members affected will have their power again.

“Other crews were headed to two separate lines, one with 13 broken poles and another with 9 broken poles, all in very difficult locations. A track machine is used to assist in getting poles to these locations and set. These projects would require quite some time even if there were perfect working conditions. A member of a tree trimming crew stated that yesterday, after cutting trees in difficult locations, an hour later they would have to head back because more trees had fallen. He stated, ‘Two steps forward and one step back.’ He also shared that his home was still without power.

“We have over 100 men in the field today working 16-hour shifts. Many of them are without electric service, out of propane and away from their families. We share your concerns and have a heartfelt concern for our members. There’s nothing that makes a lineman happier than seeing your lights come back on so your life can get back to normal.

“Members with medical issues that are without service should consider relocating until power is restored. Neighbors please look out for those that might need assistance. You should call 911 in the event of an emergency.”

AEP Ohio announced on Friday crews have made significant progress on the storm restoration efforts in the western portion of South Point.

A statement on the company’s Facebook page included: “Hazardous conditions continue to hamper efforts for the 500 company, contractor, tree crews and support team members. Large chunks of ice melting and falling from transmission towers have caused an additional safety concern for our restoration teams. Crews report trees continuing to fall, causing additional outages in the area. Roads in the area remain impassable. We continue to work with local government officials to safely remove fallen trees and clear the roads for our crews.”

The company also announced a restoration time of 6 p.m. this Sunday for Crown City in Gallia and Chesapeake, South Point (East) and Proctorville in Lawrence County. Restoration times for locations west of South Point were also announced for noon on Sunday in Lawrence County and included Ironton, Kitts Hill, South Point (West), Pedro, Franklin Furnace, Coal Grove.

© 2021 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.

By Beth Sergent

Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.

Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.