Thousands of homes were affected after three major storms hit our area, leaving over 600 power lines and poles lying around. We spoke with the Appalachian Power Company who said that fixing this problem is a little harder than just flipping a switch.
More than 12,000 homes have lost power since Friday night in our area, but the residents aren't the only ones suffering from the loss. The power companies are working overtime to get the problems fixed.
"Every now and then we get caught up in finishing a job before dark and it'll run until 18 hours," said line crew supervisor Chris Gilmer.
We learned that there was reason for such long hours. "At the moment there are 400 separate outages, which means we have to go to 400 different places. Even it it's nothing more than closing a fuse, you have to do that," explained district manager of Appalachian Power Isaac Webb.
With three storms brushing through the area, Webb tells us that the power company is hardly getting the power on before it goes out again. "In some cases we're looking at customers being out several times. In others a particular storm took them out," said Webb.
With such high winds it can actually pick up larger items like a small barn, pushing it through the power lines. That can actually snap the pole itself, causing a much bigger problem for power companies. "The repair work is a bit more extensive in some places than just closing a fuse," said Webb.
The Kingsport and Gate City areas had power completely restored Monday night. Many of the surrounding areas may have had to wait several days before power was up and running again.
The power company asks that if you have any questions or problems to call the dispatcher rather than asking the crews on the streets so they aren't distracted and can work more quickly.