December 21, 2009
KINGSPORT – AEP Appalachian Power District Manager Isaac Webb reports that about 6,800 Sullivan County customers, 1,380 Hawkins County customers and 130 Washington County, TN., customers remained without power Monday morning, although Webb expects that numbers to be down to about 1,000 customers in all Tennessee counties served by the company by Tuesday evening.
At its Saturday peak, nearly 20,000 households in Tennessee were without their power in greater Kingsport as well as Mount Carmel and portions of Church Hill.
“We have called in about 120 line contractors working in 30 crews to augment our regular company force of about 90,” Webb said Monday. “We’re finding that everywhere we go, there is something that has to be fixed, whether it’s a wire down, a pole broken or a tree on the line or whatever. So the going is a bit slower than we would like because it’s not simply throwing a breaker and restoring power. But we’re working very hard to get neighborhoods restored as quickly as possible.”
In addition to line contractors, Webb said AEP has also called in additional tree service crews as well. However, while the majority of Tennessee customers should have power restored in the next 36 hours or so, Webb cautioned that a small number may be without power until Christmas.
“And most of those folks know who they are because they can look out their window and see a power line laying in their driveway or some other larger problem to fix,” Webb said. “Or they live out of the way on top of a hill or otherwise isolated. One of the most important things we can ask is that before you call us to report your power is still off, please make sure your power is off. We had a deluge of calls during the windstorm from folks who were staying with relatives or elsewhere and reporting that their power remained off at their residence, when we had already restored power to that area.”
For specifics on AEP’s efforts to restore power, interested persons can visit www.appalachianpower.com and click on the link titled “Outages & Problems.”
Meanwhile, Kingsport Public Works Director Ryan McReynolds reports that power has been restored to pumps that keep major outlying water reservoirs supplied. A relatively small number of households served by smaller dedicated water pumps are currently without power, with all efforts being made to restore water service as quickly as possible.
And, the Civic Auditorium in Kingsport continues to operate as an Emergency Shelter under the auspices of the American Red Cross of Northeast Tennessee. About 14 persons continue to take refuge at the facility while awaiting power to be restored as of early Monday afternoon.