Work continues to restore power across southwest Virginia after windstorm

7,200 Appalachian Power customers without power as of Monday morning

By Jessica Jewell - Weekend Anchor / Reporter

BENT MOUNTAIN, Va. - Work continues to turn the lights back on after last week's wild windstorm left tens of thousands of people in the dark.

On Monday, 10 News followed an Appalachian Power crew to get a closer look at the workers' efforts.

The windstorm with gusts of up to 60 miles per hour knocked out power to 75,000 Appalachian Power customers across Virginia. As of Monday morning, 7,200 were still in the dark.

"It doesn't take much. Just one tree could cause a huge problem that you spend all day working on," Appalachian Power line mechanic Ethan Mayo said.

Mayo led a crew trying to restore power to about 50 customers in one of the hardest-hit areas, Bent Mountain.

"Lots of trees down. Everywhere," Mayo said.

They have to travel miles off the beaten path to follow the power lines, walk along the entire line to look for any issues, make sure there's no electricity running through it so it's safe, then get to work actually repairing it.

"Sometimes you get lucky and a tree just brushed it but most of the time there's wire down and you have to climb a pole and put the wire back up," Mayo said.

That’s what crews have been doing since the storm hit Thursday, repairing lines to try to restore power as quickly as possible.

The crew members 10 News followed are among 1,300 people working to make that happen.

While power is back for most customers, Mayo said they'll keep working round-the-clock to get everyone back online after one of the worst storms he's ever seen hit southwest Virginia.

"Until the next tree falls or till the next windstorm, ice storm, just until the next thing breaks. It can be a permanent fix. It's just Mother Nature doesn't really have any guarantees," Mayo said.

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