Thanks to John Bowman, an AEP Ohio technician, customers in the St. Clairsville area who eagerly awaited Santa’s arrival enjoyed a much cozier Christmas Eve.

John Bowman celebrated 40 years with AEP in December. “When you’ve been here a while things out of the ordinary catch your eye,” he says.

Bowman was driving to a job Dec. 23 when he spotted something amiss on the side of a country road in nearby Neffs. It was a dead tree outside our right of way, with one of its limbs pressing down on the power line.

“It’s a strange thing. When you’ve been here a while things out of the ordinary catch your eye,” said Bowman, who celebrated 40 years with AEP in December. “You get used to the way a power line is supposed to lay between poles, where things are supposed to go, in a straight line. After a while you just start seeing things that don’t look right.”

Bowman notified the line department at the nearby Belmont service center about 15 minutes away. Line Crew Supervisor Justin Demarchi and his team headed to the location to remove the hazard right away.

They didn’t know it then but a white Christmas was coming. The following day (Christmas Eve) it rained and a wet, heavy snow fell on St. Clairsville. The weight of the snow likely would have brought the tree through our power line. By staying alert and taking action rather than driving on down the road, Bowman (with help from the Belmont line crew) almost certainly prevented a power outage that day.

The lines remained strung to our poles with great care;
The power kept flowing! St. Nick soon would be there.

Question About Trees? We love ’em! Unfortunately, they’re also one of our biggest causes of power outages. If you have any concerns, please contact our forestry team at (614) 883-6987 or visit

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