UPDATE: Wire Thefts Force Businesses to Lose Power, Money

By: Jennifer Rizzi, WSAZ News Staff Email
By: Jennifer Rizzi, WSAZ News Staff Email
Business owners in Kanawha City say the power outage resulting from ground wire thefts put them out of luck - and out of money - Thursday morning.

(WSAZ Photo / John Green)

UPDATE 11/29/12 @11:10 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The theft of ground wire from an AEP substation in Charleston forced thousands of homes and businesses to lose power.

Business owners in Kanawha City say the outage put them out of luck - and out of money - Thursday morning.

Syrra Salon opened at 7 a.m. in the dark, and owner Melanie Fisher says it was a major inconvenience for the staff and customers.

"Everything we do revolves around electricity," she said. "And to think it's because somebody stole something and not because of mother nature...it's infuriating."

Fisher says the salon stayed open using natural light, but other shops weren't able to do that. The Drive-In Barbershop had to stay closed until the electricity came back about 10 a.m., and owner Chavela Simmons says that was major problem.

"It cost us two hours of business at the barber shop [during] our busiest time," she said. "It's when a lot of businessmen stop in and their haircut right before work."

Simmons also owns a pawn shop on the same block and says she was scheduled to shoot a commercial that morning with racing star Bobby Dale Earnhardt.

"If we would have had to cancel the commercial and do it another date, it would have taken away a whole day of being able to work towards that," Earnardt said.

Luckily the lights came back and the show went on, but business owners say the thieves could have cost a whole lot more than money.

"They could lose their lives," Fisher said. "It's sad, really."

No arrests have been so far in connection with the thefts. Police say the suspects got away on Quarry Ridge Road and left copper scraps behind them.

If you have any information on the crime, you're asked to call AEP.

UPDATE 11/29/12 @ 2 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Power has been restored in Charleston after a copper theft forced crews to shut down a sub station.

Power was restored by 2 p.m. Thursday.

According to AEP spokesperson Jeri Matheny, someone broke into the company's Chesterfield Avenue station early Thursday morning and stole all of the ground wires on its equipment.

Power was knocked out in the Kanawha City area near MacCorkle Avenue and the Bridge Road area of South Hills. Nearly 3,000 customers were affected.

Matheny says the person(s) involved in the incident caused extensive damage to the station and created an extremely dangerous situation so crews had to shut down the station for repairs.

By 2 p.m., crews were able to switch all of the customers to an alternative source to restore power. However, the substation is still out of service. Matheny isn't sure when the repairs will be completed to reopen the station.



UPDATE 11/29/12 @ 11:10 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- It could be 2 p.m. before power is restore to about 1,500 customers in Charleston.

According to AEP spokesperson Jeri Matheny, someone broke into the company's Chesterfield Avenue station early Thursday morning and stole all of the ground wires on its equipment.

Power was knocked out in the Kanawha City area near MacCorkle Avenue and the Bridge Road area of South Hills.

Matheny says the person(s) involved in the incident caused extensive damage to the station and created an extremely dangerous situation so crews had to shut down the station for repairs.

Crews were able to switch about 1,500 customers to alternative sources so they wouldn't be without power very long. However, 1,500 customers mostly in the South Hills of Charleston won't have power restored until about 2 p.m., according to Matheny.

Power has been restored to the University of Charleston.

Again, power is expected to be restored about 2 p.m.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 11/29/12 @ 11:05 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Power is slowly coming back on for customers in Kanawha City.

The power has now been restored to the University of Charleston. That means classes will resume Thursday at noon.

According to AEP spokesperson Phil Moye, someone broke into the company's Chesterfield Avenue station and stole all of the ground wires on its equipment.

Nearly 3,000 were without power due to the vandalism and theft. No word at this time if all of the power has been restored.

The power outage is also affected the traffic lights on MacCorkle Avenue. All traffic lights are out from 31st Street and MacCorkle Avenue to South Ruffner in Kanawha City. Drivers are urged to avoid the area.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 11/29/12 @ 7:15 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Nearly 3,000 are without power after someone broke into a power sub station in Charleston.

According to Kanawha County Metro 911, the outages are in the area of Chesterfield Avenue in Kanawha City.

Charleston Police tell WSAZ.com that all traffic lights are out from 31st Street and MacCorkle Avenue to South Ruffner in Kanawha City. Drivers are urged to avoid the area.

According to AEP spokesperson Phil Moye, someone broke into the company's Chesterfield Avenue station and stole all of the ground wires on its equipment.

Crews responded to the station, but to make the repairs safety, they had to turn off power to some customers in the area. Crews were able to switch customers to alternative sources so they wouldn't be without power very long.

Power is also out at the University of Charleston.

According to a news release, classes are cancelled until noon and will resume normal schedule at that point. Administrative offices on campus will also be closed on campus until noon.

Right now, power crews are out working on the problem and power is expected to be restored about 10:30 a.m.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Drivers in Charleston and Kanawha City could experience delays Thursday morning.

The Charleston Police department told WSAZ.com that all traffic lights are out from 31st Street and MacCorkle Avenue to South Ruffner in Kanawha City.

A Metro dispatcher said a power outage in Kanawha City is the problem.

According to Appalachian Electric Power's website, more than 2,900 customers are without power in Kanawha County. 132 customers are without electricity in Clay County.

The dispatcher said power is expected to be restored around 8 a.m. Thursday.

Drivers are urged to avoid the area between Charleston's 31st Street and MacCorkle Avenue to South Ruffner in Kanawha City.

Be sure to check back at WSAZ.com to get the latest information.


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