Allegheny Power restored electric service to more than 477,000 customers impacted by the recent snowstorms – the largest restoration event in company history. Approximately 3,500 workers participated in the effort, including 1,300 Allegheny Power service and support personnel.
“We realize that this was a difficult time for those who were without power,” said Rodney L. Dickens, president, Allegheny Power. “We want to thank our customers for their patience and understanding in the wake of such a devastating storm.”
A Feb. 5-6 storm dumped as much as three feet of snow on parts of Allegheny Power’s service territory in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia. The heavy, wet snow ripped limbs from trees, breaking utility poles and downing power lines. A second snowstorm – packing wind gusts of 50 to 55 mph – caused additional outages and left many roadways impassible, hampering power restoration efforts.
A majority of the outages occurred in Pennsylvania, where approximately 295,000 customers lost power. West Virginia was also hit hard, with service disrupted to close to 120,000 customers in the state. More than 55,000 homes and businesses lost electricity in Maryland and Virginia.
Service was restored to nearly 275,000 customers within the first 48 hours of the initial storm. Some customers were without power for an extended period, due to widespread damage to electrical equipment, poor road conditions and inaccessible locations.
As part of Allegheny Power’s comprehensive storm plan, the company quickly re-deployed crews within its service territory to the affected areas. In addition to the 1,300 Allegheny Power employees working to restore service, the company requested help from contractors and other electric utility companies as part of mutual aid agreements. Approximately 1,200 lineworkers, 720 tree trimmers and 250 damage assessors from as far away as Alabama and Kentucky assisted with repairs.
Crews worked 16-hour shifts around the clock for more than a week to respond to more than 7,000 cases of trouble. In some instances, entire sections of power line had to be rebuilt, including a circuit in Washington County, Pennsylvania, where 50 spans of wire were repaired.
“From treacherous roadways to single-digit temperatures to snow piled two and three feet high, workers in the field contended with extreme conditions in order to get the lights back on as quickly and safely as possible for our customers,” Dickens said.