Thousands of Virginians to spend Christmas without power

AEP says many counties in the New River Valley won’t have power until Sunday evening

ROANOKE, Va. – Families across southwest Virginia are preparing to spend their Christmas Eve and day without power.

Appalachian Electric Power (AEP) is trying to restore power to thousands of customers throughout the state. Many people woke up to no power on Friday morning and it has still not come back on.

George Porter, a spokesperson for AEP, says the company understands the frustration.

“We’ve had customers that have been out since early morning Friday and they still don’t have an estimated time on when they’re going to be restored and that’s aggravating, that’s frustrating, to not know,” Porter said.

Cindy Sorah-Bryant lives in Pittsylvania County. She says her community is filled with senior citizens and many of them rely on electricity to stay alive.

Sorah-Bryant and her wife are currently powering their home using a generator. She says this storm couldn’t have come at a worse time.

“It’s a constant struggle. With the holidays here, we’re running low on funds, which I’m sure a lot of people are, but yet we’re having to go and purchase gas to keep our generator going,” Sorah-Bryant said. “I can’t cook Christmas dinner. So yeah it definitely impacts our whole family, and not just our family but families of all of our neighbors.”

AEP has crews working around the clock to restore power. They say some of the more populated areas like Roanoke have issues that will be resolved first.

“We’re obviously going to start restoring power for the largest area or largest customer base that we can get turned on. For example, if there is a circuit that has 1,000 customers out, we’re going to work on that circuit before we work on a circuit that has 10 customers, it’s just simple math,” Porter said.

The power company is asking crews from out of state to come help out with restoration. Crews are coming in from Indiana, Michigan, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kentucky. They’re expected to be in Virginia by Saturday evening.

AEP is also asking customers who do have power to cut back on their energy use a little to help with the process. Sorah-Bryant says it’s unfair.

“Those that do have power, they shouldn’t be penalized and have to reduce their energy input because AEP isn’t really stepping up their game to fix the lines that are down,” Sorah-Bryant said.

AEP is asking for people to remain patient. They know the situation is dire and they say they’re doing everything they can to get things turned back on.

“Only thing we can ask for is patience. We want customers to understand that we are out there working. You may see our crews, you may not, you may see them driving around and wondering what we’re doing, but everything we’re doing today…we’re trying to get power restored,” Porter said.

You can find more information on the progress of AEP and see where the outages are by visiting their website.

About the Author:

Connor Dietrich joined the 10 News team in June 2022. Originally from Castle Rock, Colorado, he's ready to step away from the Rockies and step into the Blue Ridge scenery.