CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Appalachian Power customers left in the dark now have a new tool to figure when their power will be restored."It's something we have had in the works for a while now," said Phil Moye with Appalachian Power. "The thing people really want to know when they are out of power is when it's going to be able to be restored."Customers will be able use an online tool to find out when their power will be restored, the power outage cause and number of customers affected by outages by logging into their account on AppalachianPower.com."Increasingly, you are seeing utility systems move toward something like this," Moye said.
Appalachian Power's parent company, American Electric Power, implemented a similar system successfully, Moye said.Customers will need to register online with Appalachian Power before using the tool. The next screen will show estimated restoration time and the cause of outage when it's identified. Initial restoration times and outage causes may change once crews arrive on the scene of an outage."I feel like people will use it," Moye said. "It's worked well in other areas and we expect it to work well for our service area too."The web tool has already been used locally, Moye said. During last week's ice storm about 3,000 customers accessed the site within hours of the storm hitting."While customers can always call us to find out their estimated restoration time, they'll now be able to find that information on our website. That's good news for customers who use smartphones, tablets or laptop computers," Jeri Matheney, Appalachian Power communications director, said in a news release. Reach Caitlin Cook at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5113.