UPDATE: Power crews prepare for monster storm - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Power crews prepare for monster storm

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BLUEFIELD (WVVA) - As Sandy bears down on the Eastern United States with threats of blizzards, high wind and flooding, utility crews were mobilizing to prepare for the worst.

Following are news releases from both Appalachian Power and Dominion Power regarding their efforts to

CHARLESTON (NEWS RELEASE) – Appalachian Power started Friday making preparations for potential power outages that could occur Monday night into Tuesday from remnants of Hurricane Sandy.

More than 350 workers have been secured from AEP sister companies and will be moving into place on Monday. The workers will assist locally-based Appalachian Power employees should the storm cause widespread damage to electrical facilities.

Based on Sunday's forecast, the most serious threat to Appalachian Power is heavy wet snow in the high mountain areas, including the coalfield counties of southern West Virginia and far southwest Virginia. In addition, strong wind gusts could be problematic for many areas within Appalachian's service area.

"This weather combination will likely cause a major power outage event for us and we are preparing by staging crews in various areas in West Virginia and Virginia. At the same time, we encourage customers to have a plan in place for coping with extended, storm-related power outages," said Phil Wright, vice president Distribution Operations.

Customers should prepare an emergency kit with flashlights and fresh batteries; battery-powered radios or televisions; candles, matches, or lighters; water for drinking and cooking; portable heater (oil or gas); camping equipment (sleeping bags, camp stoves, lanterns); canned goods and a manual can opener and manufacturers' instructions for power-operated equipment such as the garage door. Customers should charge cell phones and have  a mobile charger for their automobiles. More information can be found on AppalachianPower.com in the section "Outages & Problems."

Appalachian Power provides electricity to 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, with more than 5 million customers  in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation's largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined.

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RICHMOND, Va. (NEWS RELEASE) – As Hurricane Sandy approaches, Dominion Virginia Power and Dominion North Carolina Power are preparing for potentially widespread power outages from the powerful, slow-moving storm, and urging customers to do the same.

"This storm system will build in intensity over time and will remain a force for days, not just hours, causing major damage and extensive power outages," said Rodney Blevins, vice president-Distribution Operations. "Its effects will be felt for days along much of the East Coast." The company's linemen and contractor tree trimmers will be supplemented by additional utility workers from other states. 

"When customers lose their electric service during a major storm, their primary question is when their electricity will be restored," Blevins said. "They expect our bucket trucks and line crews to be in the field as soon as the storm ends, or sooner, but strong winds may make working conditions too risky to proceed while the storm lingers.

"The safety of everyone is paramount. This means it may take longer to respond to some outages," Blevins said. Dominion meteorologist Jeff Mock explains the unique characteristics of Hurricane Sandy and why this storm may be severe and long lasting in this online video:  http://youtu.be/gJTjv09Tycs.

 Restoration work continues around the clock until service is restored for all customers affected by the storm. Most crews work from sunup to sundown to restore service. Some work will continue during the night if it is safe. Overnight, other employees plan and organize the next day's jobs so repairs are completed in the most efficient and effective way possible.

The company reminds its customers to call toll free 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357) in the event of outages or downed lines. Customers may also report an outage through the company's mobile website at www.dom.com by typing in the phone number or account number on record with the company and the last four digits of their Social Security number, PIN or federal tax ID number.

Dominion (NYSE: D) is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 27,400 megawatts of generation. Dominion operates the nation's largest natural gas storage system and serves retail energy customers in 15 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's website at www.dom.com.

Follow us on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/DomVAPower. 'Like' us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dominionvirginiapower.

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