Kentucky Power crews helping with storm recovery in Northeast

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ASHLAND, Ky. (WTVQ) – Eighty-five Kentucky Power crews and contractors headed north on Tuesday to assist with power outages in Maine and Connecticut following Tropical Storm Philippe.

Remnants of the tropical storm drenched the Northeast Sunday and Monday, bringing down trees and power lines and knocking out electric service to more than one million customers. Nearly half of those affected are customers of Central Maine Power, based in Augusta, Maine.

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About 35 Kentucky Power crews and contractors, including workers with Davis H. Elliott, will assist Central Maine Power. Restoration efforts could take a week to complete in some areas. Another 50 Kentucky Power forestry contractors from Asplundh Tree Experts will assist Eversource Connecticut with tree removal and other forestry needs. All the Kentucky crews are based in Ashland, Hazard, Pikeville or Whitesburg.

The assistance is part of the mutual assistance program. Under this voluntary partnership of investor-owned electric companies, utilities commit to help restore power when assistance is required during major outages. The decades-old program allows electric companies unaffected by a major event, such as in a hurricane or snowstorm, to provide help to those in need. Mutual assistance allows electric companies affected by a major event to dramatically increase the size of their workforce by borrowing highly skilled employees from those unaffected by the outage. The receiving companies pay the expenses of the traveling crews, not Kentucky Power customers.

“We are happy to be able to help our peer companies,” said Kentucky Power President Matt Satterwhite. “Mutual assistance is an essential part of the electric power industry, allowing Kentucky Power and other utilities to respond quickly in emergencies that can lead to significant damage to the energy grid,” said Kentucky Power President Matt Satterwhite. “The loss of power in this or any disaster really stresses the value of electricity and makes it a lot easier for people to understand the value of the services we provide. We are vital to living in America.”

Kentucky Power, with headquarters in Ashland, provides service to about 168,000 customers in all or part of 20 eastern Kentucky counties, including Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Clay, Elliott, Floyd, Greenup, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Magoffin, Martin, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike and Rowan. Kentucky Power is an operating company in the American Electric Power system, one of the largest electric utilities in the U.S., delivering electricity and custom energy solutions to nearly 5.4 million regulated customers in 11 states. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system. AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.