American Electric Power says approximately 500,000 customers throughout the company's Ohio service territory are without electricity with approximately 300,000 located in central Ohio.
The Columbus-based company released the following statement this morning:
Restoration efforts are ongoing right now and we expect they will continue up to 5 to 7 days. The key drivers for restoration times are the extent of storm damage including the number of transmission and distribution circuits down and damage to pole and wires, number of resources available to work restoration and weather conditions during the restoration period. This is the worst storm we've had since we were hit by Hurricane Ike in 2008. At this point, our customer numbers and damage reports have us on track for this storm to be in proportion to Hurricane Ike. Wind speeds for this storm have been reported in the 80 to 85 mph range. Ike wind speeds were recorded in the 75 mph range. Restoration for the majority of the customers affected by Hurricane Ike was completed in about a week. We urge the public to be extremely cautious around downed lines. All downed lines should be considered energized. Keep children and pets away from lines and any item that could be energized by fallen lines such as metal fencing and yard items. Because of the extent of the outages, AEP Ohio asks that customers turn off all major appliances and air conditioning, leaving one light on to alert them their power is back on. This will also help prevent overloads that can cause the power to go off again. The weather forecast for the next few days is for very hot, humid conditions. Please check on your affected family members, especially the elderly, to make sure they remain safe.