|Appalachian Power indicated the forecast for high winds in West Virginia is always one that creates concern. As of Wednesday as temperatures dropped in to the teens, the company had no widespread outages, but spokesman Phil Moye admitted high winds definitely change the prospects for the company.|
"When we have extreme cold temperatures it can stress our equipment and we do see problems with that at times, but not often," Moye explained. "But when you combine it with the possibly of high winds, then there's a possibility for some outages."
Temperatures are forecast to be into the single digits to well below zero across most the company's West Virginia service territory. The National Weather Service has issued wind advisories for much of West Virginia with the potential for gusts up to 60 miles an hour. Moye said all employees and contract line crews are on stand by to activate the moment there are problems, but he added there is a difference between a wide scale power outage on a normal day and one on a day with sub-zero temperatures.
"Everybody's heaters are on and everybody's water heaters are wanting to come on," he explained. "When we try to get the power back in, we can't bring everybody back on at once. All of that demand overloads the line and trips it back out. We have to bring customers back on line in smaller groups."
Should there be widespread outages, Moye suggested customers shut off the major appliances like the heat pump, water heater, or refrigerator until the power is fully restored.
"Wait five, ten, or fifteen minutes after the power is back on is a really good idea," he said. "It really helps us get power back on more quickly."