Tuesday night Mon Power was reporting 408 Wetzel County customers remaining without power in the wake of the June 29 derecho storm that hit Wetzel County, West Virginia, and beyond.
Mon Power, a FirstEnergy company, said the storm affected 280,000 of their customers, but by Tuesday evening almost 95 percent of those had power restored.
As part of a massive, around-the-clock effort, Mon Power continues working to restore service to approximately 25,000 customers who remain without power as a result of recent severe storms.
"We greatly appreciate our customer's patience as our crews continue repairing the worst storm damage I have seen in more than 30 years with the company," said Jim Haney, president, West Virginia Operations, FirstEnergy. "Because the remaining work is especially labor-intensive, with smaller numbers of customers being restored with each repair, we have revised the estimated restoration times for the remaining customers to better reflect the severe damage our crews continue to discover as they work out in the field."
More than 6,300 FirstEnergy employees, contractors, and outside utility crew members have been working on the restoration efforts.
The current outage total includes customers who lost service as a result of storms throughout the past week in addition to the June 29 storm, which affected 280,000 Mon Power customers. More than 95 percent of customers affected by the June 29 storm have had power restored.
The storm restoration workforce has included personnel from FirstEnergy's other utilities Toledo Edison, The Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company, Metropolitan Edison, Pennsylvania Power Company, Pennsylvania Electric Company and Jersey Central Power & Light, along with 1,500 contractors and outside utility crew members from Michigan, Florida, New York and Kentucky. They have worked 16-hour shifts, 24 hours a day, throughout the restoration effort.
Employees, contractors, and outside utility crew members in West Virginia have encountered nearly 27,000 damage locations as a result of the storms. Crews also have responded to more than 13,500 hazard orders to clear downed wires and make the locations safe.
One of the most time-consuming aspects of the outage restoration process is setting a new pole. So far, Mon Power crews have replaced hundreds of poles as a result of storm damage. However, current outage orders indicate that almost 400 poles still need to be replaced.
The company has also had to rebuild sections of its transmission system that were damaged in West Virginia. Helicopters were used to assist in the restoration of 67 transmission lines (69-kilovolt and above).
FirstEnergy crews and contractors are utilizing the company's restoration process, which is designed to restore power safely and efficiently for affected customers.
First, crews focus on securing hazardous situations such as downed wires to protect public safety. Priority also is given to hospitals, communications facilities, emergency response agencies, and the transmission and substation facilities that supply power for local distribution systems.
Repairs are then made to circuits serving the largest number of customers, followed by restoration of service to individual homes.
Customers may notice hazard responders in areas with downed wires. Their job is to stay on the scene and prevent the public from contacting fallen, energized lines until line crews can make repairs. In addition, temporary repairs may be performed to make an area safe and restore as many customers on a circuit as possible.
If crews leave an area to make temporary repairs elsewhere, they will return as soon as possible to complete the remaining work.