WAYNE, W.Va. — Challenges continued to mount Saturday for thousands of workers trying to gain the upper hand on power outages in a six-county region in West Virginia hard hit in separate ice storms during the past two weeks.
Appalachian Power Company reported more than 40,000 customers remained without power Saturday afternoon in Cabell, Wayne, Lincoln, Putnam, Jackson and Mason counties. More than 9,000 customers had service restored Friday.
The power company has more than 3,200 workers on the job. Many of them are staying in portable housing at the Huntington Mall parking lot which has turned into a small city.
Crews have found more than 1,500 locations where repairs are required, 550 power poles that need replaced and roughly 2,400 spans of wire that need to be put back up.
Repair work is difficult and more problems are continually identified, but progress is being made each day,” Appalachian Power said in Saturday afternoon’s report. “As an example, workers have replaced the same pole in Wayne County three times because more trees keep falling on it.”
Ice storms hit on Feb. 11 and then again on Feb. 15. It’s believed more than 6,000 customers have been without power since the initial storm.
Appalachian Power still hopes to have all service restored to customers in Putnam, Lincoln, Mason and Jackson counties along with the Milton area in Cabell County by 10 p.m. Monday. The estimate is 10 p.m. Tuesday for Wayne and Cabell counties.
The restoration assistance continued to receive assistance from National Guard units and state police troopers Saturday.
The Guard has three chainsaw teams clearing roads and property and other teams using Light Medium Tactical Vehicles to make welfare checks on some cutoff residents in Wayne County.
Troopers are also helping with clearing efforts and welfare checks.
Various crews from the state Division of Highways began working on the storm-impacted areas shortly after the first ice storm.