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Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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Power restored in area
Appalachian Power warns more problems could occur if today's weather turns bad

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

Many people in Henry and Patrick counties lost electricity due to icy weather Sunday and Monday, but all outages were restored by Monday night.

However, Appalachian Power warned that further outages could occur if rain and snow in today’s forecast become problematic.

A winter storm over the weekend coated power lines and trees with ice — as much as a half-inch in some parts of Appalachian Power’s service region, the utility reported Monday.

As of 9:25 p.m. Monday, Appalachian’s website showed that none of the company’s 27,792 customers in Henry County was without electricity. Service to Patrick County customers was restored earlier in the day.

Although work to reduce the outages was continuing, Appalachian warned that service could be affected if rain and snow in the forecast this afternoon become problematic. As of late Monday, the National Weather Service predicted little or no snow accumulation in Martinsville and Stuart.

Still, “The weather could complicate restoration efforts and result in additional outages,” Appalachian warned on its website.

Earlier in the day, a combined 1,500 customers in Henry and Patrick counties were without power.

At least 527 of those customers were in the Kings Mill Road area between Ridgeway and the North Carolina line. John Shepelwich, Appalachian’s state corporate communications manager, said some equipment on a utility pole malfunctioned, probably due to ice buildup, and was being replaced.

Appalachian customers in the Old Leaksville Road, Daniels Creek, Reed Creek and Rangeley areas of Henry County also were without electricity on Monday afternoon. Shepelwich said those outages also were due to weather factors, but he did not have exact details of what caused them.

“Our crews have been out all day,” he said, adding they were supplemented by crews from other American Electric Power subsidiaries as well as private contractors.

Shepelwich said about 2,000 customers served by Appalachian’s Fieldale office in Henry, Patrick, Franklin, Floyd and Carroll counties were without electricity at some point during and after the storm. However, he said he could not pinpoint the exact number locally.

In Martinsville, about 850 customers in the Fairy Street area near the high school lost power for about two hours Monday morning after a tree loaded with ice fell onto a power line, said city Utilities Director Dennis Bowles.

Their electricity was restored around 8:05 a.m., Bowles said.

Except for that incident, only “a few scattered” power failures occurred in Martinsville, mostly on Sunday, and affected customers were not without electricity for long before crews restored their service, he said.

“We were very fortunate” that the ice did not cause more power problems, Bowles added.


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