The power was back on and life was returning to normal for many area residents Monday, although a few hundred still remained without electricity.
AEP Ohio reported all of its Washington County customers who'd lost power as a result of the June 29 storm that toppled trees and power lines had service again Monday. Meanwhile, the Washington Electric Cooperative still had about 250 customers in the dark throughout its service area.
Jennifer Greene, director of marketing and member services for the co-op, said crews are now dealing primarily with individual issues, such as repairing transformers and service drops, which affect fewer people than other work already completed.
"If you replaced a three-phase line, a lot more people came on because a lot more people are attached to it," she said.
About 100 customers were still expected to be off this morning, Greene said. Although three crews from other Ohio co-ops are expected to arrive today to help, a date for full restoration still is not known.
The co-op has a good idea of who is still without power, but Greene said customers lacking electricity are invited to call 373-2141 today to let them know so no one is missed.
For ice or water for people without power and transportation:
376-7070, ext. 0.
To receive a $100 gasoline card, $100 food card or one $50 card for each from the Washington County Department of Job and Family Services, residents must meet the following criteria:
Gross income for the entire household must be below 200 percent of the federal poverty limit (approximately $46,000 per year for a family of four).
The household must have been without electricity for a period of 72 hours or more since June 29.
Applicant must be a Washington County resident.
Age 55 or older if applying as an elderly resident, having no children under age 18 in the home.
Disabled applicants must be receiving disability assistance such as Social Security Disability, SSI, Veteran's Disability, Black Lung Benefits, etc.
If not meeting elderly or disabled qualifications, applicants must have a child in the home under the age of 18.
Applications will be accepted 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays through Aug. 2, or until funds are exhausted, at the department office, 1115 Gilman Ave., Marietta.
To provide input to local officials on response to future storms and/or blackouts:
City of Marietta - 373-1387; officials' email addresses available at www.mariettaoh.net
City of Belpre - 423-7592.
Washington County EMA - firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington County Sheriff - leave a message at www.washingtoncountysheriff.org
In West Virginia, more than 1,600 customers of MonPower in Wood County were without power Monday, along with more than 300 in Pleasants County, according to firstenergycorp.com around 5:40 p.m.
Although the storm damage was under control Monday, there was other work to be done for AEP.
"All our storm-related trouble is completed," said Keith Page, AEP's supervisor of distribution services for the area. "Most of the stuff we're working on today is just normal trouble."
That included transformers blowing as a result of overuse in the excessive heat, he said.
Page said he appreciated the patience and support of local residents, including some who dropped off care packages for out-of-state workers set up at AEP's local staging area at RJF International Corp. in Oak Grove.
Washington County sheriff's deputies were shifting back to their normal duties after a week that saw them hauling ice and water to area residents in need as power outages persisted in triple-digit heat, Sheriff Larry Mincks said. County Emergency Management Agency Director Jeff Lauer was moving out of the emergency operations center in the second-floor conference room at the sheriff's office and back to his own office in the courthouse.
Cooling stations at the Grandview and Newport volunteer fire departments were still operating Monday. Mincks said anyone still without power and transportation and in need of water or ice can contact the sheriff's office at 376-7070.
Marietta Mayor Joe Matthews said the city's water wells were all at capacity and he was no longer asking residents to conserve water by refraining from activities like washing their vehicles.
Lauer said there will be an "after-action meeting" of local officials to go over how the county's emergency plan worked in the recent crisis, probably later this week or early next week.
"It's not really what you did wrong, because it was a disaster ... but (are) there things we can do better?" he said. "We always look at ways we can improve."
The lack of communications - with landline and even cell phones out in some cases after the storm - led to some problems. Lauer said that's why it's important for individuals and businesses to learn from this situation as well.
Mincks agreed the recent outages were a learning experience.
"This is the type of situation that you really can't simulate in a drill," he said.
Matthews said he will meet with city department heads today to go over needs identified and lessons learned from the storm and the outages that followed. He's already asked the development department to look into grant funding for generators for the city's well field and lift stations.
Belpre Mayor Mike Lorentz said he feels the area was well-prepared in some ways and ill-prepared in others. He plans to meet with not only county officials, but also his counterparts like Matthews and Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell.
"I just thought we'd sit and pick each other's brains," Lorentz said.
For example, local governments could try to share information about where resources, like gasoline, were available.
"We couldn't get gas, and the people were calling even from Wirt County, (W.Va.), to see if they could get gas here," Lorentz said.
He also wants to look into grant funding to acquire items like generators that could be provided to a service station in exchange for allowing city vehicles to fill up first. Lorentz said the Cool Spot in Athens County provided gasoline to Belpre vehicles during the recent circumstances, even though they had long lines of customers.
"Think about that, when you're going ... (15) miles away from the city with emergency vehicles? I don't like that," he said.
Lauer, Mincks, Matthews and Lorentz all said they were willing to listen to concerns and suggestions from residents.
Mincks said conditions were improved by local volunteers as well as businesses like Broughton, which provided a refrigerated truck to store ice supplies the county received.
State Rep. Andy Thompson noted Broughton also provided a truck to get supplies from Noble to Monroe County. And Anadarko Petroleum Corp. set up a generator for a water plant in Belle Valley after Thompson contacted the state Oil and Gas Association to see if their members might be able to assist during the outages.