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.
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.