CHARLES TOWN — Life in Jefferson County is slowly returning to normal as power crews, businesses and residents work to put back together what damaging thunderstorms broke apart two weeks ago.
Many residents remained without power for a week or more, but as of Tuesday Potomac Edison reported that there were five or fewer residents still without power in Jefferson County.
There were also five or fewer residents without power in each of the Eastern Panhandle counties. Some counties farther to the southwest still had a large number of residents without power, partially due to a second round of damaging storms that struck last week. Greenbriar County, for example, is reported to have more than 1,600 residents still without electrical service.
Mon Power, Potomac Edison’s parent company, reported that there were still 25,000 residents without power statewide as of Monday. More than 320,000 customers had lost power in the severe weather over the last two weeks, Mon Power said in a press release, but 95 percent of customers have been brought back on line.
“We greatly appreciate our customer’s patience as our crews continue repairing the worst storm damage I have seen in more than 30 years with the company,” said FirstEnergy West Virginia Operations President Jim Haney.
“Because the remaining work is especially labor-intensive, with smaller numbers of customers being restored with each repair, we have revised the estimated restoration times for the remaining customers to better reflect the severe damage our crews continue to discover as they work out in the field,” he said in a statement.
Haney reported that the vast majority of remaining customers should have power by Wednesday, though some would not have power restored until later in the week.
Some homeowners forced to throw out the contents of their fridges and freezers may be able to get reimbursement under their insurance policies, said Tom Maiden, the owner of Shepherdstown-based Tom Maiden’s Insurance Outfitters.
“It depends on the insurance carrier and the specific policy, but we’ve been getting a lot of calls,” said Maiden, whose business is an independent insurance agency that represents many different insurance companies.
The power outage that began June 29 for thousands in the Panhandle left many homeowners forced to throw out hundreds of dollars in formerly frozen dinners, thawed meat, melted ice cream and other goods.
Maiden said it makes sense for homeowners to check their policies to see if they contain a clause that will pay to restock perishable items, usually with a small deductible. Under some insurance policies, a homeowner automatically gets coverage for what’s called refrigerated property, while under other policies, such coverage is added on upon request. Deductibles and coverage limits vary from policy to policy and from one insurance carrier to another.