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Some customers considered to have power restored might not have full power yet, officials say

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Some customers categorized by power companies as having power restored might not have power all the way back yet, officials said Friday.

Together, Appalachian Power and Mon Power reported about 8,000 customers without power as of Friday afternoon. But because of damage to individual home lines, some customers could still experience partial outages two weeks after widespread storms began hitting the state.

"It's not common, but there are occasions where that happens," said Phil Moye, spokesman for Appalachian Power.

After a major storm, power companies restore main lines on the power system that seem to be causing problems. Each home, however, has what's called a "service drop," which is the bundle of individual power lines that run off the main line to the house, said Todd Meyers, spokesman for Mon Power.

Trees and wind can damage those lines, too, so even though a street might be energized, a person's home could be without full power, Meyers said

Moye explained that the wires that run to homes carry 120 volts each, and some home appliances -- such as air conditioners and dryers -- require 240 volts to work. If a wire were loose or disconnected in some way, he said, a person would only have partial power.

Mike Morris, an Appalachian Power customer who lives in Cross Lanes, contacted the Gazette on July 8 because he had partial power at his home. Although he could use lights and fans, he didn't have enough electricity to run his air conditioning, refrigerator, oven or hot water heater.

"Basically we couldn't take a shower," Morris said Friday. "Well, we took a couple of cold showers, but that was pretty miserable."

Morris had his power fully restored July 10. He said there was a woman from his church who also had trouble running her air conditioner from the outage, but he thought that might have been for a different reason.

People who find themselves in a situation like Morris did should contact their power companies. Both Moye and Meyers said homes with partial power are considered restored unless clients call to tell the companies otherwise.

"If they have partial power, they're probably deemed to have power, and there needs to be another repair," Meyers said.

Reach Alison Matas at alison.matas@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5100.


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