UPDATE: AEP has released restoration times for customers across central Ohio. Click here for those.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — AEP Ohio is planning to work around the clock until power for their customers is restored, according to a company spokesperson.
“When big storms come through, it’s all hands on deck and we will work 24-7 until this thing is completed,” said Tom Kratt, Vice President of Distribution for AEP. Kratt estimated more than 1,400 employees were working to restore power.
As of 9:15 p.m. Tuesday, 228,854 AEP customers are without power, with the company seeing 1,995 outages. Kratt said the storms that hit Ohio Monday night and early Tuesday caused a large number of outages, but weren’t the only reason some customers lost power.
Power outage numbers for AEP have fluctuated throughout Tuesday afternoon. At 5:25 p.m., there were 208,455 customers without electricity; at 6 p.m., that number was 210,487; at 7:15 p.m., 206,618; 9:15 p.m., 240,445. By 10:30 p.m., that number dropped to 232,820.
Kratt said the heat that hit the region also caused issues. Due to the damage caused by the storms, some of AEP’s systems were not able to handle the increase in power usage, particularly in Columbus and the immediate area. As of 11:15 p.m. Tuesday, the number of customer outages reported in Franklin County was 161,197, more than two-thirds of the total customer outages for the company’s service area.
“We’ve had to open up the system and take those customers off the system for loading reasons,” he said, adding this move prevented even more widespread outages.
Kratt said some of those customers will be added back to the system later Tuesday afternoon and into the evening as temperatures cool down, estimating this would begin at approximately 6 p.m. Kratt said power may be out for some customers going into the weekend, but added the company has restored power to about 60,000 customers Tuesday.
“We don’t like the inconvenience on our customers,” Kratt said. “We’re pretty committed to getting all the customers back and their air conditioning back and getting their quality of life back and we won’t stop until we’re done.”
Kratt said between 400 and 500 crews from other power providers in the region would be added to AEP’s crews Tuesday and Wednesday to help repair the outages.