Disaster Response and Mutual Aid

Public power works to restore power in the Carolinas, other states

Public power crews were hard at work on Friday helping to restore electricity to customers in South and North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia after the states were hit by Hurricane Dorian.

South Carolina’s Santee Cooper on Sept. 6 reported that it had about 6,200 customers without power, with power restored to almost 38,000 customers so far. “We expect to have everyone up who can get power by 10 p.m. Saturday, with most people restored by tonight,” Santee Cooper said in a Sept. 6 tweet.

Public power utility crews from Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama were continuing to help Santee Cooper restore power on Friday. Santee Cooper is the state-owned public power utility in South Carolina.

“The storm has delivered significant damage, but Santee Cooper crews were prepared and got an early start this morning on the recovery effort, working in some pretty bad conditions,” said Santee Cooper President and CEO Mark Bonsall. “We appreciate all the kind words that the line crews are getting from customers, and we urge everyone to please stay safe out there.”

Transmission crews were out on Friday addressing structural damage and other repairs, but the lines serving customers are energized, noted Tracy Vreeland, a spokesperson for Santee Cooper. “We also have three helicopters patrolling the transmission lines and addressing issues,” she said in an email.

North Carolina

ElectriCities of North Carolina reported on Friday afternoon that public power crews “have made tremendous progress in restoring power across the state today. We’re estimating we now have less than 10,000 outages across” North Carolina public power communities, it said in a tweet.

ElectriCities is a not-for-profit membership organization of municipally owned electric utilities that are spread across North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.

Public power crews from Alabama (Opelika Power) and Louisiana (Lafayette Utilities System) were deployed to Washington, N.C. Lafayette Utilities System crews were also deployed to Kinston, N.C.

The public power city of New Bern, N.C., reported that approximately 6,500 customers are out of power as of 12pm Friday. “Crews continue to work around the clock to repair damaged lines and restore service,” it said on its website. At the height of the storm, more than 14,000 customers were without power in New Bern.

Public power crews from North Carolina were sent to assist New Bern. A crew from Danville, Va., also went to New Bern.

Georgia, Virginia

Meanwhile, crews from Ohio’s American Municipal Power were sent to Franklin, Va., while crews from Tennessee’s Benton County Electric System and Loudon Utilities were sent to Albany, Ga.

Association’s role

With the approach of Dorian, the American Public Power Association’s mutual aid efforts kicked into high gear.

Among other things, the Association held daily Mutual Aid Working Group conference calls related to Dorian planning.

Along with the Mutual Aid Working Group calls, the Association’s Mutual Aid Team coordinated with industry partners at the Edison Electric Institute and National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, as well as the Department of Energy.