PARKERSBURG - Life is getting back to normal for most Wood County residents after storms last week knocked out power to thousands, but a small percentage of customers are still waiting for electricity.
About 4 percent of Monongahela Power customers in Wood County were still without power on Monday.
David Cale, who lives near the corner of 16th and Knotts avenues, off Nash Street in south Parkersburg, said about 20 residents in his neighborhood still have no power.
"I've been calling the power company twice a day, and today I put in a couple calls to the mayor's office," he said. "It's been a very uncomfortable week."
Cale said four utility trucks arrived Monday afternoon, but repairs were delayed because of an unmarked gas line on the property.
"We're just waiting. This will be our 11th night with no power," he said Monday afternoon. "We've been toughing it out as best we can - sleeping in the basement a couple times to stay cool. We do not own a generator, but we will buy one after this experience. A generator will be one of the first purchases we make."
Patti Michel, spokesperson for Mon Power, said utility crews are up against many challenges in rural areas, where only a handful of customers are affected.
"We've made a lot of progress, but there is a lot of damage in some rural areas which have been more difficult to get to. And some outages have not even been reported yet," said Michel. "So far, our Mon Power linemen have replaced hundreds of utility poles, and throughout this process they have discovered 27,000 areas of damage."
During the repair process, safety clearances must first be given in certain areas with downed, live wires. In these situations, hazard responders are sent in first to assess the damage, and often times they will stay on the scene to monitor any dangerous wires, protect the public and continue writing the report until repair crews can arrive with the proper equipment, she said.
"The whole process is a time-saver for crews. Hazard responders are able to assess the situation, letting headquarters know which type of crew and what type of equipment is needed," said Michel.
Mon Power crews responded to more than 13,500 hazard orders to clear downed wires.
"We will continue to work very hard to restore power to our remaining customers by Wednesday. Some outlying areas may have to wait until later in the week," she said.
According to Mon Power, around 650 (3 percent) customers remained without power in Parkersburg. Less than 1 percent of customers were without power in both Vienna and Williamstown. Walker still has 350 people without electricity.
The following outages in surrounding counties were reported Monday: 1,200 (27 percent) in Wirt County; 1,500 (24 percent) in Ritchie County; 337 (10 percent) in Pleasants County and 613 (33 percent) in Jackson County.
Across the river in Ohio, AEP reported on Monday that power was restored to all Washington County customers affected by the storm.
"Everyone affected by the storm was put back into service by 9 p.m. Sunday," said Jeff Rennie, AEP Ohio spokesperson. "There are a small number of outages not related to the storm that we are working on, and we have lineman out still making a few general repairs."