Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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March 17, 2014

Crews work to fix outages in region

GREEN VALLEY — Emergency responders were called out this afternoon to a power line problem and utility pole fire in Green Valley in the vicinity of the Grants Supermarket, according to Mercer County 911 emergency dispatch communications.

The Green Valley-Glenwood Volunteer Fire Department responded to the call at 4:45 p.m. Emergency dispatch personnel contacted Appalachian Power to report the power outage. APCO reported that 897 customers lost power as a result of the outage.

Some of the Green Valley customers had power restored, but other outages were reported in Mercer County Sunday afternoon.

A similar wire fire was reported on the Old Pisgah Road at about 5:50 p.m. and another situation was reported in Mercer County at 7:25 p.m. The peak power outage total in Mercer County was 897 APCO customers and by 8:15 p.m., that number had dropped to 673.

However, emergency responders in Giles County reported widespread power outages throughout the county. At about 7:15 p.m., 2,037 Giles County APCO customers — an estimated 20 percent of the county’s customers — were without power.

Phil Moye, APCO spokesman said that while he did not know for sure the cause of the Mercer County problems, he said that in late winter when a lot of salt has been used to treat roads and highways, the salt build-up on power lines can cause “tracking” during rain events. He said that crews try to clean salt from the power lines, but during wet conditions tracking can cause problems with insulators and cause pole fires.

Moye said crews were still patrolling the Giles County power lines to find the nature of the problem at 9 p.m.

 — Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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