AEP customers waiting for power restoration endure heat

AEP customers waiting for power restoration endure heat
Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 7:10 PM EDT
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CABELL COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Monday night’s storm knocked out power to more than 73,000 Appalachian Power customers and, as of Thursday afternoon, AEP officials say about 90% of customers have their service restored.

For the 10% still out of power, the last three days they say have been nearly unbearable.

“Even at 10 p.m. it took your breath away stifling hot,” said Josh Coleman who was out of power.

Coleman lives in Rush Hollow near Ona with his elderly mother. He was one of thousands who lost power during Monday night’s storm.

He was on vacation when the power went out, and his mother called him to tell him about the storm -- telling him she’d probably be out of power for the night.

He said she called AEP Tuesday and they told her it would be on by Wednesday, but when he came home Wednesday evening it was still out.

“Every single one, even my neighbor over there were back on, but these two homes weren’t which concerned me,” Coleman said.

He called AEP who said, according to the online outage map, the outage had been fixed.

“I said, ‘I think that’s inaccurate because I’m standing right here and it’s not on’,” Coleman said.

When he walked into his house, he says he found his mother nearly passed out due to the heat.

“She didn’t have her wits about her whatsoever. She was just kind of ‘Josh, Josh are you there are you there?” said Coleman. “I said, ‘Yeah mom it’s me’ and she said, ‘is it morning is it night?’ completely disassociated from her normal self.”

Coleman says his mother’s dogs also got heat exhaustion and one nearly died.

Thursday morning, he noticed the map was updated to show his outage, which said fewer than five customers.

“It’s just frustrating that you make sure that you pay a power bill on time, because power is essential. There’s always a lot of words of ‘we’re going to get this done as fast as possible’ but actions always speak louder than words,” Coleman said.

Coleman’s neighbor, Brittany Cook, also lost power Monday. She says she’s trying her best to keep her five children and her disabled veteran father-in-law from getting heat exhaustion.

“We’ve just been doing our best to try to keep him cooled down put air on him but it’s definitely been a struggle,” Cook said.

She says they’ve spent about $600 to buy a cooler, ice, food and battery-operated fans.

“We are literally just trying to survive at this moment,” Cook said.

Coleman told WSAZ that his power came back on around 2 p.m. Thursday. He said he was called to confirm the power was working.

He says it is a slow process to cool the house down, but he still plans to put his mother in a hotel Thursday night so she can recover.

We also found out Thursday evening that Cook’s power has since been restored.

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