IPL crews offer storm relief in snowy West Virginia

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IPL sent 22 IPL employees Monday to support restoration of power lost to thousands along the Eastern Seaboard in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. In addition, IPL sent 37 contractors consisting of linemen and tree-trimming crews who had been doing other work for IPL.

Restoring power to thousands left in the dark is difficult enough, but when you add two feet of snow and 45-mile-per hour winds, that task becomes even more challenging. Those are the conditions the IPL team faced when it answered the call for assistance earlier this week.

Headquartered in Beckley in the southwestern part of the state, the IPL crews were sent 22 miles north to focus on a mountainous area near the New River Gorge. Most of the work is being done at around 2,000-2,300 feet in elevation.

"We're seeing broken poles, broken cross-arms and a lot of wire down," reported Monsanto Love, one of the IPL Crew Leaders. "Trees have been an issue with a lot of snow on them. They're bending until they snap and are taking out more equipment off the poles. Right now we're trying to get as many main lines up as we can, but road conditions are slowing us down."

Access to the damage was difficult on Tuesday, but improved after many of the roads were cleared overnight. The crews dealt with a mix of rain and snow yesterday. Better weather is forecast for the rest of the week with partly sunny skies and highs in 50s.

"We've still got a lot of stuff in mountainous areas where there are gullies and gorges," said Monsanto. "It's still going to be very hard to get to."

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(This story is a press release from IPL.)