AEP crews are out working to restore power following the ice storm. AEP photo.

AEP photo.

STORM AND OUTAGE DETAILS
WINTER STORM ELLIOTT 2022

Update: 2:00 PM, 12/21/2022

CURRENT SITUATION
As meteorologists continue to monitor the potential for a major winter storm throughout our service territory, including extremely cold temperatures, snow and winds over 50 mph expected Thursday night through the weekend.

With temperatures expected to drop to dangerous lows and blizzard-like conditions, it’s important for customers to take steps to prepare now to keep themselves and family members safe. This includes making a plan for what you’ll do if you lose power for an extended period of time. Poor road conditions, lingering wind gusts and extreme wind chills could delay restoration efforts — potentially causing multi-day outages for those who lose power.

“We know customers are anxious about whether or not their power will be impacted by the storm, especially as many are gathering to celebrate the holidays,” said Marc Reitter, president and chief operating officer of AEP Ohio. “In the event of power outages, please know our crews will restore power as quickly and safely as possible. It’s important for customers to be prepared too.”

Updates will be provided throughout the weather event at AEPOhio.com and through other communication channels.

STORM & POWER OUTAGE FAQS
Will you have enough staff to manage restoration during a holiday?

As always, our crews are ready to assess damage and get the power back on as quickly as possible. We have resources in place across our service territory and will initiate restoration efforts as soon as it is safe to do so — road conditions, lingering wind gusts and extreme wind chills could delay restoration efforts. Right now, crews are making sure we have the equipment needed on trucks and inventory for replacing poles or other equipment. We will also be leveraging contractors and mutual assistance for additional support.

Will the cold temperatures and wind impact the speed of restoration efforts?

The safety of our customers and team is a top priority. While crews will work to restore power as quickly as possible, it’s possible that poor road conditions, lingering wind gusts and extreme wind chills could delay some restoration efforts. Once wind gusts reach 30 mph, we aren’t able to safely put our bucket trucks up in the air — crews will typically resort to climbing poles to do the work needed, but this takes more time and is very physically demanding in the cold.

What happens after the storm passes?

Once it’s safe to do so, crews will head out and drive along roadways to get a quick understanding of the damage while also looking for any potential hazards like downed lines and poles across roadways.

While assessment teams are taking an inventory of the damage and determining exact needs, lineworkers are beginning repairs where they safely can. Depending on the severity of the damage and accessibility, this detailed assessment could take 24 to 48 hours or longer, especially in more rural areas where terrain and residual storm conditions may make it more difficult to reach and repair damaged equipment.

We work hard to keep customers informed during outages, including giving our best estimate for how long it will take to get the power back on. Every outage is different, but we’ll use all information available to keep you informed on progress along the way.

What steps should customers using life supporting medical equipment take to prepare?

Due to the impending blizzard-like conditions, now is the time for customers with life supporting medical equipment that requires electricity to prepare for the possibility of power outages. Due to the nature of the emergency restoration processes and expected weather conditions, AEP Ohio cannot assure priority restoration for life-support customers. We strongly urge customers to have either a backup power source or an alternate plan in the event of a power outage. If our community partners open up warming centers or shelters, we’ll also share that information on our outage map at AEPOhio.com. Please know that our crews will work as quickly and safely as possible to restore power in the event of an outage once the weather has passed.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: STORM PREPAREDNESS & SAFETY TIPS
As the winter weather approaches, one of the most important things customers can do is make plans and prepare for what you’ll do if there’s a power outage.

Assemble or refresh an emergency kit that includes (at minimum) non-perishable food, water, a flashlight, batteries, a battery-powered radio, a first aid kit, any necessary medications, fully charged portable chargers, blankets, extra cash and maps of your area.
Develop an emergency preparedness plan for you and your family. Decide now what you’ll do if there’s an extended power outage, factoring in any planned holiday travel. Also, contact family, friends and neighbors who are elderly or have a medical condition — and don’t forget to include your pets in your planning.

Stay away from any downed wires and report any hazards through the AEP Ohio mobile app, call 911 and AEP Ohio at (800) 672-2231.

Do not attempt to remove tree limbs or debris within 10 feet of a power line.
Limbs, leaves and other objects moved by the wind and ice build-up could hide downed wires. Investigate your surroundings before trying to clean up any debris.

Notify AEP Ohio if you’re using a generator. This protects you and our lineworkers as they work to restore power.

Never operate lanterns, heaters or fuel-fired stoves without proper ventilation.
Unplug major appliances to protect them when power is restored.

Refuel heaters, lamps and generators outside and away from any flames or sparks. Wipe up spilled fuel immediately.

Never burn charcoal indoors — it releases poisonous carbon monoxide.

For the health and safety of AEP Ohio crews, please stay at least 6 feet away from our employees, vehicles and equipment.

WARMING CENTERS & SHELTERS
As other organizations around our service territory establish warming centers and shelters, locations and details can be found onAEPOhio.com/OutageMap. As they become available, some of the warming locations within current Franklin County/Columbus warming locations can be found here.

STAY CONNECTED
Customers can receive the latest alerts and information and should:
Sign up for text alerts: AEPOhio.com/Alerts
Download the AEP Ohio mobile app: AEPOhio.com/App
Visit AEPOhio.com throughout the duration of the event, including AEPOhio.com/OutageMap
Follow AEP Ohio on Facebook and Twitter

NEXT UPDATE
AEO will continue to keep you informed as more information becomes available with our next update coming at noon on Thursday. Updates will be provided throughout the weather event at AEPOhio.com and other communication channels.