GHENT, WV (WVNS) — Harrowing winter weather over the holiday week was not the most wonderful time of the year for many people in West Virginia as hundreds were without power. This caused people to lose the heat necessary to battle the life-threatening wind chill values and temperatures.
Phil Moye, the spokesman for Appalachian Electric Power, said this was some of the worst winter weather he has ever seen.
“That’s one of the coldest and worst weather Christmases I can recall and in addition to high winds and some snow, we also had some of the most extremely cold temperatures,” said Moye.
Temperatures consistently plummeted into the single digits while wind chill values dipped into the negatives. Moye said this created a problem known as “Cold Load Pickup”
“All the heaters, all the appliances all want to come on at the same time because they’ve been out and it is cold…but when it is very cold like that and all that electricity surging through the line, it can overload the line, cause the line to burn down or cause the line to trip out,” said Moye.
Moye said this problem only occurs during extremely cold temperatures. When it does occur, they have a plan in place.
“We had to sectionalize to go in there and just put on groups, small groups 10, 15 at a time, and it would take several hours to get all hundreds of those customers back…that was the really difficult part for us,” said Moye.
While it did take some time, power companies restored everyone’s power back by the end of the holiday. Moye said he is proud of everyone’s hard work and feels confident when the next round of winter weather comes.