AEP Ohio has hundreds of workers on standby for power outages during winter storm

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Rain turned to ice in Columbus around four this afternoon.

This storm has the potential for ice freezing on everything it comes in contact with. Depending on how much ice and wind this storm brings, the combination could mean trouble for power lines in some areas.

NBC4 spoke with AEP Ohio to find out about their plans with this latest storm.

AEP Ohio Spokesman Selwyn Dias said they have meteorologists monitoring the changing weather conditions. But, he said ice on lines is not AEP’s main concern.

“Our biggest concern with any weather event like this is going to result in traffic issues, cars or vehicles hitting our equipment, poles that would cause an outage,” Dias said.

He said they are prepared and have around 1,800 people on standby.

“The vast majority of those are people in equipment and vehicles. It includes folks you would see in bucket trucks, and in line vehicles. Tree trimmers, if a tree falls on a line they can bring those trees down. Then there are assessors who go out and assess the amount of damage,” Dias said.

There is a reason why they have their own meteorologist.

“I certainly watch the news just like everyone else does, but I do take a lot of guidance from our own meteorologists, they are certainly trained and they know our utility business, so that is why we have them on staff,” he said.

The weight of the ice on lines can add up quickly, but Dias said it is not their only concern.

“It is not strictly the loading of the ice, you also have to take other considerations such as the wind. So we look at it in combination of ice load and wind conditions,” said Dias.

He warns if you see power lines down, do not touch them, call them in. Also if you use a portable generator he cautions that it not be run anywhere inside your home. Also use only ones installed by a certified electrician, so electricity does not flow back into power lines where AEP workers are repairing lines.

You can download an AEP Ohio app where you can report outages, and receive mobile alerts. You can find the app at www.AEPOhio.com/App

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