PSC filings show June storm cost utilities $172M

CHARLESTON (AP) — West Virginia’s largest power providers spent a combined $172 million on repairs and restoring service following a June 29 windstorm, according to utility company filings with the state Public Service Commission.

Eleven utilities filed the reports with the PSC on Monday detailing the extent of the damage from the storm.

The Charleston Daily Mail reports Appalachian Power and First Energy subsidiaries Mon Power and Potomac Edison replaced or repaired a combined 2,700 power poles, more than 300 miles of wire and 1,600 transformers after the windstorm.

Mon Power and Potomac Edison said the estimated cost to restore service was about $110 million. Their PSC filing said damage occurred to their power transmission systems.

“Normally, transmission, which carries the bulk power supply from the generating stations, is not severely affected by the storms,” the filing said. “In this case, the transmission and sub-transmission systems were greatly damaged and had to be repaired first in order to get the bulk power to the distribution substations to deliver electricity to smaller distribution feeder lines.”

The windstorm and subsequent storms left three people dead and more than 680,000 customers without electricity across the state.

Most of the customers, 585,000, belonged to Appalachian Power, which said its transmission system also sustained heavy damage.

Appalachian Power’s filing said repairs cost were $62 million in West Virginia and $38 million in Virginia.

Frontier Communications said it had 20 generators stolen following the storm.

Frontier estimated storm-related repairs at $5.8 million, while West Virginia American Water’s estimate was $750,000. The water company also plans to spend $750,000 on additional upgrades to its system.

The filings also addressed the need to plan for future disasters.

Mon Power said it would work with retailers and state officials to come up with delivery systems for water and ice, and Appalachian Power said it would work to find better ways to bring in additional help, which could include creating a network of retired utility workers to assist in repair efforts.

The major utilities said they also would address identifying more staging areas for crews, more housing options for workers brought in from other areas and working more closely with communications providers to stay in touch with crews.

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