COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — AEP Ohio is planning to work around the clock until power for their customers is restored, according to a company spokesperson.
“When big storms come through, it’s all hands on deck and we will work 24-7 until this thing is completed,” said Tom Kratt, Vice President of Distribution for AEP. Kratt estimated more than 1,400 employees were working to restore power.
As of Wednesday morning, nearly 130,000 AEP customers were without power with just over 79,000 in Franklin County. Kratt said the storms that hit Ohio Monday night and early Tuesday caused a large number of outages, but weren’t the only reason some customers lost power.
The outage map had the total customer outages as low as 63,000 at around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday with the total outages now back up over 130,000 at 11:00 a.m. Franklin County specifically is now up to over 79,000 without power as of 11:15 a.m. after being as low as under 8,000 earlier this morning.
Power outage numbers for AEP fluctuated throughout Tuesday afternoon when the outages began. At 5:25 p.m., there were 208,455 customers without electricity; at 6 p.m., that number was 210,487; at 7:15 p.m., 206,618; 9:15 p.m., 240,445. By 10:30 p.m., that number dropped to 232,820.
Kratt said the heat that hit the region also caused issues. Due to the damage caused by the storms, some of AEP’s systems were not able to handle the increase in power usage, particularly in Columbus and the immediate area.
“We’ve had to open up the system and take those customers off the system for loading reasons,” he said, adding this move prevented even more widespread outages.
Kratt said customers were added back to the system Tuesday afternoon and into the evening as temperatures cooled down. Kratt said power may be out for some customers going into the weekend, but added the company had restored power to about 60,000 customers Tuesday.
AEP Ohio said at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday that 128,000 customers have had power restored since Monday evening’s storms began the outages.
“We don’t like the inconvenience on our customers,” Kratt said. “We’re pretty committed to getting all the customers back and their air conditioning back and getting their quality of life back and we won’t stop until we’re done.”
Kratt said between 400 and 500 crews from other power providers in the region would be added to AEP’s crews Wednesday to help repair the outages.