Outages Increasing As Conditions Worsen
Hurricane Florence continues to hammer North Carolina with high winds and heavy rain. South River EMC has approximately 1100 members without power, but the Cooperative has suspended restoration efforts due to unsafe working conditions.
“The safety of our workforce is paramount and the high winds and torrential rain have created unsafe work conditions,” said Catherine O’Dell, VP of Member Services and Public Relations. “A lineman cannot work out of an elevated bucket when wind speeds exceed 35 mph. As soon as conditions allow, our crews will assess the damage and begin restoration. In the meantime, our employees are resting up for the long road ahead.”
The electric cooperative has nearly 200 additional line personnel traveling from Ohio, Tennessee and Illinois to assist. Additionally, 68 tree experts from Louisiana will be supporting the Cooperative. These out-of-state personnel will be bringing 154 vehicles. This is a force multiplier for South River EMC’s 66 in-field workforce and contractors.
“Our area is expected to get hurricane and tropical-storm force winds,” said O’Dell. “This, coupled with potentially catastrophic flooding, can make for a dangerous situation, which can result in wide-spread outages. We are so thankful for the assistance of all of the out-of-town emergency personnel who are traveling to assist with our restoration efforts.
“Linemen are the unsung heroes of many disasters. They leap into action and work tirelessly until all power is restored and people’s lives are returned to normal.”
We are facing widespread outages affecting thousands of members and restoration could take up to one week.
While the power is out, people are encouraged to turn off their air conditioners, all appliances and lights. This will help make the transition easier once electricity is restored. If there is too much strain on the electric system when the power is restored, the circuits can be overloaded causing additional outages.
Anyone who encounters a downed power line should stay clear and call 9-1-1.
Cooperative offices will be manned around the clock until all power is restored. Outages can be reported by calling 910.892.8071 and following the prompts.
South River EMC, a local Touchstone Energy Cooperative, is a locally owned not-for-profit electric cooperative providing electric service to over 44,000 homes, farms and businesses in parts of Harnett, Sampson, Cumberland, Johnston and Bladen counties.