File photo

The wind was so strong during the June 29, 2012, derecho it doubled over this high-transmission power line standard in West Virginia.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — It was this time last year the state and much of the east coast were battered by a powerful derecho leaving more than 600,000 people in West Virginia without electricity for days.

About 300,000 of those customers were serviced by Mon Power, and some West Virginians waitned nearly two weeks before the lights came back on.

Company spokesman Todd Meyers told MetroNews “Talkline” Wednesday the storm led the company to prioritize clearing rights-of-way, attempting to prevent debris and dead trees from falling on power lines.

“This year we’ve stepped it up and are spending about $44 million to trim trees in West Virginia,” Myers said.

Next month, Mon Power will present to the state Public Service Commission a new vegetation management plan that Myers said would go beyond current efforts. Among the findings from the PSC’s investigation into the 2012 massive power outage were questions about utilities doing enough to keep rights-of-way clear.

Myers added the company has also upgraded its communications and streamlined the process so it can more efficiently identify problem areas and get customers online quicker.

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    Instead of complaining about the power company, take a look at the real culprit: government regulations enacted by people we do not vote for. The power companies are being pressured to keep their right of ways clear to avoid outages, but at the same time, NUMEROUS new regulations are being enacted by the EPA restricting herbicide spraying, new osha regulations restricting climbing trees to cut, new FAA regulations about helicopter cutting, new DOT regulations restricting the hours a crew can work. I don't see how ANY business can stay afloat under the weight of the regulations.

  • Jane

    Mon Power has indeed changed its right of way clearance. Better than it has ever been.

    • Rob

      Let's hope. I called several times to get trees trimmed from a line and pole, even after the June storm last year. Sandy struck and the first damage was a tree top that should have been cut back. Ended up costing them a pole and transformer. Cost us 8 days without power. Now let's see what the cost benefit analysis would read on tree trimming vice equipment replacement...