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Appalachian Power is monitoring a storm system moving across the Midwest this morning that is expected to bring severe weather to the company's service area later this evening. While there remains some doubt as to how severe, wind gusts as high as 65 miles per hour are predicted and the company is taking steps to prepare for significant outages.
Earlier today company officials requested 500 line mechanics and 100 damage assessment specialists to be secured and staged across Appalachian Power's Virginia and West Virginia service areas. Local company and contract crews are packed and ready to move as they continue their regular work today. Damage assessment specialists will report to work tomorrow packed and ready to move to areas with significant damage.
"We do expect outages associated with this storm, so in advance of the storm we are securing and staging resources across our service area," said Phil Wright, Appalachian Power's vice president of distribution operations. "We are also in contact with emergency management agencies, local elected officials and state regulatory commissions, making them aware of our preparations."
Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, which delivers electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation's largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined.