AEP has decided to rescind a scheduled maintenance project that would have shut down power Friday in parts of Hillsboro and Highland County for three hours, according to company spokespersons.
The Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District posted a message Thursday on its Facebook page that said: “We wanted to get information out to some residents of the district in the Hillsboro area. AEP is scheduling an outage for tomorrow (1/6/2017) between the hours of 11A and 2P. From speaking with an AEP representative, the area being affected in Hillsboro is West of N High Street and North of West Main. From what I’m understanding this will affect the North West side of town. Nothing East of High Street or South of Main Street should be affected according to representatives from AEP. As always, STAY SAFE!!”
After seeing the message, The Times-Gazette called AEP shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday. A spokesperson, who would only identify himself as “Mark S.,” a customer service representative from AEP, said that the planned maintenance was scheduled for parts of Hillsboro and Highland County on Friday and that power would be shut off for AEP customers from approximately 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. He said the outage could last longer, or not as long.
The spokesperson said he did not know exactly which areas of Hillsboro and/or Highland County would be without power. But he did say that all AEP customers in the affected area, both residential and business, should have received a phone message this week alerting them of the planned outage – if their account information was up to date.
When The Times-Gazette asked if the scheduled maintenance was routine – considering that is was scheduled for the middle of the day on a Friday – and that the area was experiencing one of its coldest periods in recent months, the spokesperson put The Times-Gazette on hold while he tried to get a manager on the phone.
The spokesperson came back on the line shortly thereafter. He said he had spoken to a manager and that the scheduled maintenance had been canceled.
During the call with the first spokesperson, a second spokesperson returned a call from The Times-Gazette. She did not identify herself, but verified that planned “equipment maintenance” had been scheduled, probably for AEP to do tree trimming or replace utility poles. But she said that “probably due to the cold weather,” the maintenance had just been canceled.
The second spokesperson said the maintenance would be scheduled at a later date, but she did not know when that would be.
Branden Jackman, public information officer for Paint Creek, said he was glad to hear AEP had changed its plans.
“It would have wreaked havoc for us,” he said.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.