Mon Power damage assessment continues

FAIRMONT, W.Va., Oct. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Mon Power utility personnel continue assessing damage following Hurricane Sandy that hit parts of its service territory Monday night.

Heavy snowfall combined with winds in excess of 50 mph in some areas have downed trees, complicating assessment and restoration efforts.

More than 640 Mon Power employees, contractors, and outside utility crew members are working to restore the more than 85,000 customers who lost power due to the storm.  Crews are being deployed to high-priority damage locations, including transmission and substation facilities that supply power to local distribution systems. 

Priority is also given to hospitals, critical care and life support facilities, communications facilities, emergency response agencies and circuits serving the largest number of customers, followed by restoration of service to individual homes.

“The majority of affected Mon Power customers are expected to be restored by early next week,” said Jim Haney, FirstEnergy Utility Executive.  “However, because of the difficult terrain and snow on the ground and up to six inches of additional accumulation expected, some customers in remote areas may not be restored until the middle of next week.”

All available Mon Power crews are working to restore service around the clock until the process is completed.  The National Guard and Division of Forestry personnel are also providing support.  In addition, FirstEnergy is working to secure additional electrical and tree contractors as well as utility crews from various mutual assistance organizations to assist with the restoration process.

As snow and debris from the storm are cleared, customers are cautioned never to touch or drive over downed lines.  Customers should always assume downed wires are carrying electricity and are reminded to keep their children and pets away from downed wires.  Downed wires should be reported immediately to Mon Power at 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877), or by calling the local police or fire department.  Customers should never try to remove trees or limbs from power lines because they could conduct electricity; instead, wait for emergency services or utility crews to arrive.

Customers can view timely, accurate outage information through FirstEnergy’s “24/7 Power Center” maps, accessible on desktops, smartphones and mobile devices at or via Twitter @MonPowerWV.

Mon Power serves nearly 390,000 customers in West Virginia.