|By Dennis Brown
than a week after the most devastating storm in recent memory, utility workers were
continuing to restore services to residences, many of which had been without electricity,
telephone and water since the storm passed through the area late Saturday and early
Fleming Mason Energy crews were able to restore power to their main line by Tuesday
night. Vanceburg Utility crews energized a significant portion of their main line by
Thursday night and on to Vanceburg by Saturday morning.
Vanceburg Utilities Superintendent Phil Kennedy said crews working on the main line
encountered extensive damage to lines and supporting structures.
Kennedy said some of the worst damage was to towers and lines in the Flat Hollow area
near South Portsmouth where Vanceburg Utilities' main line connects with American Electric
Kennedy said a tower that supports a 138 kilovolt line was leaning and had to be
repaired. Hundreds of feet of electric line also had to be replaced because it was
After those repairs were made and the line was energized to Garrison, more severe
damage was found where the main line crosses hills near Dry Hollow just west of Garrison.
Kennedy said two supporting structures had to be replaced and new line strung before
the main line from Garrison to Vanceburg could be energized.
Crews had been working since Tuesday to clear off and repair lines between Vanceburg
and Garrison, and allowed for the lower section of main line to be energized as soon as
the repairs were completed in the Dry Hollow area.
The final section of main line was energized early Saturday. Kennedy said the Garrison
area's electricity had to be disconnected for a short time while the final section of main
line was being connected.
Kennedy said crews working on the repairs were faced with rain, wind, and ankle-deep
mud toward the end of the week as they were trying to complete repairs to the main line.
Vanceburg mayor W.T. Cooper said he watched some workers climbing wooden poles had to
stop each time they would climb a step to knock thick ice off the pole before they could
climb another step.
Since getting the main lines energized workers for both Fleming Mason and Vanceburg
Electric have been working around the clock to repair sections of line to keep adding
areas with electric service.
Brown/Vanceburg Utilities Engineer
Workers braved dangerous conditions to repair electric lines.
Mayor Cooper said Vanceburg Utility crews have now split up and are concentrating on
areas where there are multiple residences without electricity.
Crews will then begin working on restoring power to single residences until electric is
restored to every customer.
A spokesperson with Fleming Mason Energy said the co-op is using the same strategy to
get as many customers electricity as soon as possible. No word yet from either utility
when they expect to have power restored to all customers. A Fleming Mason spokesman said
Saturday that about 4,000 of their customers still remained without power.
Several area businesses scrambled to get shipments of gasoline or diesel powered
electric generators and kerosene heaters to supply the demand of businesses and
By Friday, several businesses were operating on at least a limited basis on the
generators. Area residents connected the generators to refrigerators and freezers to keep
food from spoiling and to provide emergency heat and light.
Workers with Alltel struggled to repair lines and to keep generators going at the
telephone offices and substations. The telephone company has battery back up, which lasts
several hours but not several days. CSX workers also placed generators where lighted
crossing signals and gates are located to keep them operating adequately.
Adelphia workers were able to begin repairs to cable television lines after utility
poles had been repaired and other utilities on the poles were repaired.