Power outages continue in eastern Kentucky

AP News
Posted: Dec 21, 2009 1:36 PM

More than 90,000 customers remained without power after a weekend winter storm that covered parts of eastern Kentucky with more than a foot of heavy snow, Kentucky utility regulators said.

At midmorning Monday, the state Public Service Commission reported that 93,488 customers were without power, down from a peak of about 107,000. The figures do not include municipal utilities.

The PSC says Kentucky Power Co., a unit of American Electric Power, reported 69,624 customers without power in 14 counties. More than one-third of the outages are in hard-hit Pike County, where the weight of the snow knocked trees into electrical lines.

According to the PSC, Jackson Energy Cooperative had 10,771 customers without power, mostly in Clay and Laurel counties.

Full power restoration is expected to take several days. Power went out when heavy snow fell on trees, knocking them on to power lines.

Kentucky Division of Emergency Management spokeswoman Monica French said National Guard troops and utility crews continued Monday with their efforts to remove storm debris and restore electrical service.

The Commonwealth Emergency Operations Center remained at a heightened level of alert Monday.

French said more than 200 National Guard troops are in the field clearing roadways of fallen trees that have restricted transportation for many local residents and kept utility crews from reaching some communities with broken power lines.

State highway crews were "spot treating" roadways in about a dozen counties of central, northern and northeastern Kentucky on Monday.

So far, at least 16 counties have declared states of emergency: Bell, Breathitt, Clay, Harlan, Floyd, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Owsley, Perry, Pike and Whitley. The cities of Salyersville and Paintsville have also declared.