WASHINGTON COUNTY, Va. - UPDATE 11:34 p.m.:
Rolling blackouts are taking place in Abingdon, Virginia.
Appalachian power officials tell us it is a last resort measure used by electric companies to avoid a shutdown of the power system. We're told the power issues began with a transformer blowing at a substation Thursday afternoon. That left more than 3,000 people without power. Around 11:00 Thursday night, power crews had that number down to around 300. If you are in need of a shelter, you can find one at the Pleasant View United Methodist Church at 18416 Lee Highway, that's across from the airport. If you have any questions about the outages, you are asked to call 800-956-4237.
UPDATE 5:22 p.m.: 300 customers are without power now. They hope to restore power to about 75 percent of the affected area by 6 p.m.
AEP officials are asking customers to avoid using all appliances at once when power is restored to prevent further problems.
Isaac Webb with Appalachian Electric Power says 3,000 customers in the Abingdon area have no power.
One of two transformers failed after they had issues with it this morning. The substation is at Highway 19 near Rustic Lane.
A mobile transformer will be brought in from Roanoke.
Pokey Harris with Washington County's Emergency Management Dept. says the outage could last 8 to 12 hours.
An emergency shelter for those affected will be opened at 6 p.m. at Pleasant View Methodist Church, located at 18416 Lee Highway.
AEP released the following statement about the outage:
"Due to a power outage affecting approximately 3,193 AEP customers in and around the town of Abingdon, Washington County Department of Emergency, has activated its Emergency Operations Center to monitor and manage this event.
Because of the anticipated length of this outage, an emergency shelter will be opened at Pleasant View United Methodist Church, 18416 Lee Highway, Abingdon, VA, for those residents that may need shelter during this time. The shelter will open at 6:00 this evening and remain open until at least 8:00 in the morning. Residents are reminded to bring any personal supplies that may be needed, including medications. Food will be provided however; those coming to the shelter are encouraged to bring any snacks and refreshments of preference.
For information regarding the shelter, the EOC emergency number has been activated. That number is (276) 525-1911. Please note that questions about the power outage cannot be answered at this number. Citizens will need to contact the emergency number for AEP."
We'll bring you more details as they're available.
Abingdon businesses closed due to power outage
Mountain Empire Gymnastics will not have classes Thursday evening.
If you have a business closing you need to report, please email the information to email@example.com.