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South Charleston mayor asks for meeting with APCO reps

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- South Charleston Mayor Frank Mullens wants to know what to tell his residents when they ask about power restoration after storms like the summer derecho and Hurricane Sandy.

 Mullens on Tuesday asked company spokesman Phil Moye for a meeting with APCO officials to talk about the company's priorities when it comes to restoration efforts during power outages.

"It'd be wonderful for me to be able to sit down with a representative from the power company and just kind of pick their brain on things like, 'What are your priorities and why?'" Mullens said Tuesday during a regular meeting of the South Charleston Economic Development Council. "We get probably as many phone calls from our residents as you do."

Moye said he or another official at the power company would meet with South Charleston officials.

During 2012's two major storms, APCO established an emergency management agency correspondent. That person's job is to take calls from 911 centers and local and city officials, Moye said.

Mullens said the company "did a wonderful job" restoring the city's power following the storm. He also commended the company for its communication with city officials after the storm.

"For the most part [when we called AEP], we either got someone or we got a phone call back in a reasonable amount of time," Mullens said. "So from that standpoint, I thought it went well. I still think we need to be better educated on what kinds of challenges you have and that will help us communicate better with our residents.

"It may even keep some of your phones from ringing at times, if we can give a more educated answer to questions."

In other business, Mullens told the committee the city has applied for a $150,000 federal grant to start an urban renewal project. Officials would identify vacant houses that are deteriorating, buy and make repairs to the properties and then sell them.

"I believe housing is the number-one priority we need to address in South Charleston," Mullens said.

Reach Lori Kersey at lori.kersey@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.


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