Parts of Appalachian Power’s territory have already experienced extreme winter weather and more snow, sleet and ice are likely this winter.
Last year, a major snow storm hit the southern West Virginia region on Dec. 18 and left thousands of homes in Logan and Mingo County without electricity for more than a week.
Many people endured the outages by keeping candles and lamps ready and available, using floor furnaces to warm meals, and putting groceries and perishable items outside in boxes to keep them preserved.
This winter, Appalachian Power is reminding customers to take steps to become better prepared for possible power outages should they occur during the winter months ahead.
“Customers need to know how to report an outage, and we’ve got some new tools to help,” said AEP's Phil Wright, vice president of distribution operations. “If there is a weather related outage, customers should have an emergency kit prepared and know how to stay safe when power lines are down.”
The following are a few tips for coping with outages:
• Never touch a downed wire. Always treat this situation as dangerous and keep others away.
• Prepare an emergency kit with flashlights, a battery-powered lamp and fresh batteries; battery-powered radio or television; water for drinking and cooking; instructions for manually opening power-operated garage doors; manual can opener.
• Do not open freezer doors. This will keep foods frozen longer. Minimize opening refrigerator doors as well.
• Disconnect (trip the breaker in your electrical panel) major heating and cooling equipment .
• Leave just one or two lights switched on to let you know when power is restored. Once power is restored, turn on appliances gradually Electric utilities can have problems with what is called “cold load pick-up” following outages as customer demand surges when service is restored. That can cause additional outages.
• If the temperatures dip below freezing and the power outage is projected to last overnight or longer, consider moving to a shelter or in with friends or relatives who do have electricity.
• If you leave your house, protect your water pipes from freezing by turning the water off at the main shutoff valve and opening faucets to drain the water.
More information can be found on www.AppalachianPower.com in the section “Outages & Problems.”
If a customer loses electricity, it should be reported to Appalachian Power. Outages may be reported on www.AppalachianPower.com or by calling Appalachian Power’s toll-free number ( in West Virginia – 1-800-982-4237). During times of high call volume callers may hear a recorded message. Even if a customer does not speak with a Customer Solutions Center representative, he or she is urged to leave a voice message about the outage. To report a power outage, customers will need to provide their phone number or address.
Customers can now use their mobile devices (such as a web-enabled cell phone, iPhone or Android device) to report outages online at AppalachianPower.com.
The mobile site allows customers to report an outage, see the outages in their area (by county) and get detailed information on major storms. Customers can also find outage safety tips and contact information.
If widespread power outages occur, Appalachian posts information about restoration efforts on www.AppalachianPower.com. An outage map is updated every three minutes.