Crews from nine sister co-ops across South Carolina will join Blue Ridge crews in restoration efforts.
High winds and rain cause scattered power outages across S.C. Upstate
Power recovery efforts are underway in several electric cooperative-served areas in the state following high winds from Hurricane Zeta.
Six substations are without power after the storm interrupted Duke Energy’s transmission lines that carry high-voltage bulk electricity to cooperative distribution systems in several Upstate counties, according to Bobby Smith, CEO of New Horizon Electric Cooperative. The lines, supported by poles reaching 105 to 120 feet high and often made of metal and requiring specialized equipment to reinstall, can be damaged by high winds.
Crews at Blue Ridge and Broad River electric cooperatives are assessing damage to distribution lines. Outages related to Duke Energy’s transmission lines must be repaired before repairs can be completed to cooperatives’ distribution lines.
At its peak this morning, nearly 60,000 electric cooperative members in South Carolina were without power, and by 12:30 p.m. that number was down to 42,500.
“The main goal is to safely restore power to the greatest number of members in the shortest time possible,” said Peggy Dantzler, vice president of loss control and training at the state association of electric cooperatives. “That means the transmission systems get repaired first, followed by distribution lines to homes and businesses.”
A total of 37 lineworkers from Berkeley, Coastal, Edisto, Horry, Newberry, New Horizon, Palmetto, Santee and Tri-County electric cooperatives are heading to Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative to help with power restoration.
Complicating matters is the current COVID-19 pandemic, which means crews are practicing social distancing while also doing their jobs as quickly, and safely, as possible.