WELLSBURG - As winter approaches, an official with a local power supplier shared information about the company's handling of power outages with the Brooke County Commission Tuesday.
Allen Staggers, public affairs manager for Mon Power, a FirstEnergy company, said he wanted to inform the commissioners about the company's procedures because he knows they often are contacted by residents when power outages occur.
Staggers presented a short video that stated power is restored to areas as soon as the relative safety of its repair crews and the public can be ascertained.
He said residents who discover a downed power line or other hazardous situation should report it by calling the company's toll-free number, (888) 544-4877 (the last seven digits spelling LIGHTSS).
Customers also may use that number to report an outage.
Staggers said Mon Power often will send a crew member to the site of a downed line first to ensure the situation is safe until linemen can arrive to make the repairs.
That's why the commissioners may hear residents report that a power company employee is on the scene but appears to be "just standing there."
Mon Power officials said areas where safety is at risk, hospitals and police departments are given priority over other areas where outages have occurred. That's why a power truck may be seen passing through an area without service, they said.
Staggers said reports of outage areas can be found online at www.FirstEnergyCorp.com/outages.
He said Mon Power serves more than 387,000 customers in 32 West Virginia counties.
Commission President Marty Bartz, who also is assistant superintendent of Brooke County Schools, asked how school officials can reach Mon Power officials for an estimate of the time of restoration for schools without power and was provided contact information.
Staggers said he often communicates with Bob Fowler, the county's emergency management director, during major outages.
In other business, the commission approved the transfer of $20,000 from the emergency 911 center to the sheriff's department's communications line item to cover costs for mapping and addressing efforts.
Sheriff Richard Ferguson said the amount comes from the sale of reflective signs to residents bearing the new numbers for their city-style addresses and helps to defray costs borne by his department in mapping and assigning the new addresses.
Ferguson said he wanted to remind residents to change their addresses to the new city-style numbered addresses they've been issued and to post those numbers on their homes or in an area that can be viewed easily from their roads.
Residents can purchase signs anywhere, but the sheriff's department is offering them for $20 each.
Ferguson said he's seen fewer signs on Washington Pike, possibly because their numbering hasn't changed and they aren't aware residents are being asked to post them.
The city-style addressing was mandated by the federal government to ease delivery by postal carriers and response by police, firefighters and ambulance crews.