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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From Ohio to North Carolina to New Jersey, almost a half-million people are still without electricity after last week's massive storm. Many of them are in West Virginia, where more than 240,000 customers are in the dark after almost six days. West Virginia Public Broadcasting's Jessica Lilly reports on why it's taking so long to get the lights back on.

(SOUNDBITE OF HELICOPTER)

JESSICA LILLY, BYLINE: Crews in West Virginia have worked almost nonstop, even using helicopters like this one to survey the damage. Appalachian Power spokesman Phil Moye says this storm uprooted and broke massive trees in difficult-to-get-to places.

PHIL MOYE: It's a heavily forested area. It's a mountainous area. And so getting from one place to another is not as simple as driving down a paved road and going to a pole beside the road. We very often have to go out into the country, along dirt roads, along roads that really don't even exist anymore.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOOR OPENING)

LILLY: At this shelter this morning in Princeton, just a few people were here. Some are sitting in chairs, others cots. Mary Deal has camped out at this place since Sunday, but she was fed up and leaving today even though her home doesn't have power yet.

MARY DEAL: In there with a bunch of people and there's nothing to do and nowheres to go and it's not really that they're mad at each other. It's just they're cramped in one spot and they have nothing to do.

LILLY: Deal says she's looking forward to getting back to her empty, quiet trailer and she hopes the power might just return tomorrow.

For NPR News, I'm Jessica Lilly in Athens, West Virginia.

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