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Power outages continue
Many relying on generators
Lewis Anne Earles of the Mountain Valley area puts fuel into her generator Monday. Earles and her husband have been without power since Friday night’s storm. (Bulletin photo by Ashley Jackson)
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
By ASHLEY JACKSON - Bulletin Staff Writer
About 3,000 area residents still were without power Monday night, and many were relying on generators to get through the long, hot days.
A generator “can work miracles,” said Dee Jones of the Mountain Valley area. Jones still was without power on Monday, three days after a severe wind storm toppled trees and downed power lines, leaving thousands in the dark. The majority of area residents had their service restored Saturday or Sunday, but about 1,700 customers in Henry County and 1,300 in Patrick County remained without service Monday evening, according to Appalachian Power Co.
The number in Henry County was down from about 4,200 earlier in the day. Some of those outages were related to a separate storm that moved through the area Sunday night and early Monday, according to the power company’s website.
Appalachian now is projecting that service in Henry and Patrick counties will not be fully restored until Saturday night, the website said.
On Monday, Jones was able to fix breakfast by connecting a toaster, coffee pot and electric skillet to her generator. For other meals, she and her husband, Jesse, drove to Martinsville to buy food, she said.
Their generator also powered their refrigerator and freezer to keep their food from spoiling, and it was hooked to a window air-conditioning unit to help cool the home, Jones said.
“We’re coping pretty good,” she added.
They only run the generator every few hours, then turn it off to refuel and keep it off for about an hour to rest the motor.
“When the generator is not going, it is extremely hot,” Jones said. Monday’s high was expected to reach 97 degrees.
“It’s bad ... you sweat a lot,” she said.
When the generator is not on, Jones opens all of the windows in the home to help circulate air, she said.
At night, she and her husband have been staying with relatives who have power in the Mt. Olivet area. Jones must have power to sleep because she sleeps with a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine, she said.
“If it wasn’t for the CPAP machine, we would have stayed home” to sleep, she added.
The couple has taken showers at the relative’s home as well because the only water they have at home is what they have saved in gallon jugs, which they use to flush the toilets.
Lewis Anne Earles of the Mountain Valley area has been able to take showers at her home regardless of being without power.
Earles and her husband, Jerry, have their water, lights, refrigerator and freezer connected to a generator, Lewis Anne Earles said. She also has been able to cook some by hooking an electric skillet, toaster, coffee pot and microwave to the generator, she added.
Earles said that she and her husband have kept an air-conditioning unit in their living room connected to the generator throughout the day to keep cool.
However, they turn off the generator at night and just open the windows. “It’s been hard to sleep” due to the heat, but the breezes outside help, Earles said.
“It’s been a challenge” living without power, but she is thankful for the generator, which allowed them to stay at home, she said.
Jerry Earles’ 94-year-old mother, Vera, lives at County Line Elder Care, an assisted-living facility on Chatham Road. It doesn’t have power either, and each day, the couple goes to the facility to help crank the generator so that Vera can stay cool in the air conditioning, Lewis Anne Earles said.
Throughout the experience, Earles has realized just how much they depend on power, she said.
Jones said she is glad the cost of gasoline has dropped in the past few weeks, because she and her husband have had to spend about $100 so far to fuel the generator.
The outage also has kept Jones from working because she runs a hair salon in the basement of her home.
“I’ve got to wait until the lights come on to do my job,” she said.
The outage has given her some extra spare time, which she has taken advantage of by washing her kitchen cabinets with water they have saved in gallon jugs and cleaning out a bathroom closet, Jones said.
Power restoration will be ongoing for at least the next seven days, and in some areas, restoration estimates have changed due to storms Sunday evening that caused an additional 30,000 customer outages throughout the Appalachian Power service area, the company’s website said.
Power crews are continuing to find additional damage to the power company’s facilities (hundreds of broken poles, cross arms and downed spans of wire) and more than 50 substations are out of service because of damage to the company’s transmission system, the website said.
As of 6 p.m. Monday, there were 2,493 customers without power in Henry County and 2,068 customers without power in Patrick County, the website said.
In other storm-related news, a small section of the Dick and Willie Trail will be closed until a tree can be removed. The section is near Doyle Street, according to Roger Adams, Henry County Parks and Recreation director. On Monday, Adams was unsure how long the section would remain closed, he said, adding that the rest of the trail is open.
Power still is out at Horseshoe Point Park at Philpott Lake. Power may not be restored until the weekend, according to Rocky Rockwell, project manager at Philpott Lake.