Power went off in parts of Elkins and Randolph County early Friday afternoon, causing many residents to fear a repeat of last weekend's long-term electrical outages.
Electrical service was restored within two hours, however, and officials said the culprit was not a storm this time, but a damaged power line.
The Elkins Fire Department responded to a call after 1 p.m. Friday on Wilson Lane involving a power line that had been burnt into two pieces, according to Lt. Steve Himes.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Anthony Gaynor
Mon Power workers climb from company trucks at the Loughs Lane substation in Elkins as they work to restore power to areas of Randolph County that lost service Friday afternoon. The outage, caused by a damaged line, lasted less than two hours, officials said.
Himes said firefighters were unable to determine what caused the line to split in two, with both ends falling to the ground. MonPower workers responded to the scene within five minutes of receiving the call because they already were in the area working on restoring power to the Elkins region, Himes said.
Randolph County Commission President Mike Taylor said the county's Office of Emergency Management reported the outage as "a type of failure at the Loughs Lane substation." Taylor said the substation is located behind the Tygart Valley Mall in Elkins, and it is one of the larger substations in the Elkins region.
The outage affected a large portion of Elkins and most of Crystal Springs, Kerens and Montrose, Taylor said. The electricity was restored before 3 p.m., officials said.
"I know MonPower has their hands full," Taylor said. "I think they did a tremendous job in responding to today's outage. However, we still have some very frustrated residents that are still going without power.
"What is making it extremely difficult are the high temperatures," Taylor added. "It is an additional burden on the residents and the workers."
Taylor said when the outage occurred Friday, the county's Office of Emergency Management contacted MonPower officials and learned that the power would be restored shortly. He said if the power would have to be off for an extended period of time, the OEM would begin taking measures to meet the needs of residents.
A power company representative said Friday, "We've been diligently working on the restoration process."
Patti Michel, a senior communications representative of First Energy, which owns Mon Power, said 6,200 employees, contractors and utility crew members have been working on restoring power to customers following the severe June 29 storm.
The devastating storm, high winds and downed trees left 280,000 First Energy customers without power. A storm Sunday left an additional 40,000 First Energy customers without power.
Michel said First Energy crews have restored power to 255,000 of the 320,000 customers originally left without power. More than a week after the initial storm, approximately 65,000 customers are still without electrical service. Michel said crews hope to restore power to all customers by the beginning of next week.
Michel emphasized that if customers have not reported an outage, they should contact the company at 888-544-4877.
Thousands in Randolph and the surrounding counties are still without power, but the numbers have steadily come down in the past few days.
In Randolph County, 831 customers were still without power as of presstime, which is about 5 percent of the 16,967 Mon Power customers in the county, according to firstenergycorp.com.
In Lewis County, 40 percent of the county's electric customers, a total of 3,323, were still without power as of presstime. Thirty-six percent of Pocahontas County's power customers, a total of 3,310, were still without electrical service.
In Upshur County, 2,730 customers were still without electrical service, which is 19 percent of the 14,138 customers in the county. In Barbour County, 10 percent of the customers, a total of 628, were still without power as of presstime.
In Pendleton County, about 10 percent of the county's power customers, a total of 624, were still without service. Just 79 customers, about 1 percent of the Grant County's total electric customers, were still without power; while only about 5 Hardy County customers, or less than 1 percent of the county's power customers, were still without service.
Officials reported that the Tygarts Valley Transfer Station at Dailey will remain open until 3 p.m. today to receive the extra garbage created from the windstorm. The dumping fee will be waived for Tygarts Valley Sanitation customers. Others will be charged according to weight.