Gas outage could leave residents in Lewis County without heat until Saturday

© 2018-The Weston Democrat

As of 9:30 a.m., Friday, the official number of homes and businesses without heat in Lewis County was reported at 2,536 by Lewis County Commissioner Agnes Queen.

Following a gas outage caused by a mechanical issue arose throughout areas of Lewis County on Thursday, officials are on task with trying to restore gas.

To assist with restoring the gas, Dominion has brought in teams from Ohio and West Virginia to help, and Mountaineer Gas employees also are offering support, according to Queen. There are approximately 90 natural gas workers on the job.

To ensure safety, all 2,536 meters need to be shut off when the gas is restored. Service technicians have been going door to door to accomplish this task.

“Our teams are wrapping up the final meter shut offs this morning [Friday], so we can begin the process of returning to safely turn meters back on,” said Samantha Norris, the communications specialist for Dominion Energy.

As of Friday morning, 330 customers (roughly 13 percent of customers that were using the medium pressure system), have had their service restored. After the remaining meters supplied by the low pressure system are turned off, technicians will begin loading and purging the system. Then, they can begin restoring the customers by returning to each of the 2,536 homes and businesses, one at a time.

Customers who are not home will return to find a service tag on their door if a technician has attempted to stop there to help turn the gas back on. It will include a phone number to call the technicians back to the property to turn the meter on and assist residents with turning on gas appliances.

Queen said that customers are asked to leave their porch light on in the evening hours if they are available at that time for gas restoration.

Some residents have notified The Weston Democrat that they have been told by Dominion workers who have come to their door, that their gas cannot be turned back on until Saturday.

According to a social media post by the Lewis-Gilmer E911 Center, as of 9:00 a.m. Friday, Dec. 22, 13 percent of those effected by the outage have had gas restored. Dominion also expects that most customers will have have service restored by Saturday, Dec. 23.

Dominion has brought in War Wagons, which are mobile warming units capable of warming larger spaces. Those will be set up at larger areas like schools, according to Commissioner Agnes Queen.

The Lewis County Office of Emergency Management has not yet opened warming stations at this time, however, five county entities have offered to serve as warming stations if the need arises. The Jane Lew Volunteer Fire Department has publicized on social media that as of 3:30 p.m., they are on standby as a warming station.

Only two residents have requested a warming station at this time, according to the OEM.

The Lewis County OEM is asking residents to call their office at 304-269-8243 if they are in need of a warming station. Many of the counties volunteer fire departments used their social media to inform residents that they were on standby as warming stations should the need arise.

Due to a lack of heat, all public county schools were closed for the day both Thursday and Friday. St. Patrick School, however, was open both days with an early dismissal on Friday.

Updates are available on The Weston Democrat Facebook page and the Lewis County OEM Facebook page. Queen also is actively publishing updates on her personal Facebook page as they are available. Many residents also harnessed the power of social media, posting updates on the locations of the work crews as they made their way through Weston.

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