Series of power outages frustrate business owners, neighbors in Kanawha County

Olin Humphreys, who owns a market in Elk Hills, lost thousands of dollars in perishable food due to the recent power outages. (WCHS/WVAH)

Frustration is mounting for hundreds of people in Kanawha County as they've inexplicably lost power six of the last seven days.

Local business owners are reporting thousands of dollars in losses and said no one from Appalachian Power can give them a reason.

Olin Humphreys spent the last few days totaling his losses at the Day & Night Market in Elk Hills.

"All the dairy -- your eggs, your milks, cheeses, butters," he said.

Humphreys had to throw out thousands of dollars’ worth of food products as a direct result of the recent and recurring power outages in Kanawha County.

"Every day, you get no peace of mind. An independent person cannot throw this money away,” Humphreys said.

He’s not alone. Hundreds of homes and businesses in Elk Hills, Crede, Elkview and surrounding areas have sporadically lost power over the course of the last week.

“The bottom line is this: these people are sick of this. These serial power outages make no sense whatsoever,” said Kanawha County Commission president Kent Carper.

A few miles away on Hamilton Circle in Charleston, neighbors have been experiencing the same thing.

"This side of the street typically has power. This side does not,” Arnie Casto said. “It's frustrating. The power goes out across the street, and you think, 'They have lights, they have air conditioning.’”

We obtained a letter written by the Public Service Commission addressed to an Elk Hills business owner who filed a similar complaint with Appalachian Power more than a year ago. In that letter, officials cited "permanent faults on tap lines" as one of the causes of those outages.

Carper said there's no excuse for the recent series of outages.

"If there is an excuse, tell us what it is,” he said.

Appalachian Power issued the following statement on the matter:

We’ve seen an unusual number of outages in the Elkview area over the past few weeks, and we understand why people are upset about it. Some outages occurred as part of summer storms. Some occurred on good weather days. It’s not the type of performance we expect of ourselves, and certainly not the quality of service our customers deserve. We are looking into each of these outages to determine steps we may be able to take to prevent similar problems in the future.
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