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South River EMC Braces For Florence

South River EMC is preparing to respond to damage in the wake of Hurricane Florence, which will make landfall in North Carolina later this week.

The electric cooperative has been busy at work preparing vehicles, arranging out-of-state line crews, and tree-cutting experts to assist in the restoration efforts immediately following the storm. Nearly 100 hotel rooms have been reserved, hundreds of meals planned and a myriad of supplies secured in anticipation of a long restoration period.

This storm could drop in excess of 10 inches of rain in the area accompanied by tropical-storm force winds. This combination can result in a large number of fallen trees and branches, broken utility poles, fallen power lines and catastrophic flooding. The Cooperative stands ready to spring into action as soon as conditions are safe.

“Safety is our number one priority,” said Catherine O’Dell, VP of Member Services and PR. “In order to ensure the safety of our personnel, who are dedicated to restoring service as quickly as possible, we cannot have anyone in a bucket when wind speeds exceed 35 miles per hour.

“We learned with Hurricane Matthew that flooded roads pose a special danger for our big trucks at night when it’s impossible to determine if a road is flooded or possibly washed out. Additionally, flooding impedes the ability to maneuver across the area.”

The Cooperative advises members to prepare for outages that can last at least one week. Each home should have of emergency supplies to last that long. Having a plan is especially important if there is someone in the home with special needs.

“We recommend that anyone with reliance on electricity should make sure they have a generator with plenty of fuel or battery backup to last at least one week,” said O’Dell. “If neither of these options is available, we highly recommend evacuating to one of the area shelters.”

South River EMC is committed to restoring all electric service as quickly as possible once the storm passes. If a member experiences a power outage, they can call 910.892.8071 and either follow the automated prompts to report an outage or speak to a representative. The simplest way to report an outage it via text. To enroll, South River EMC members can text SREMCTEXT to 888.338.5530 and follow the prompts. Enrollment should happen as soon as possible since it takes up to 24 hours for a new account to activate.

Outages and restoration efforts can be monitored by following South River EMC on Facebook and Twitter. Additionally, the Cooperative’s web site features a real-time system map so anyone can see where outages are occurring and how many people are impacted.

“We are all hoping that the effect of the storm is less than is forecasted,” said O’Dell. “However, in our business it is best to prepare for the worst, but hope for the best."

South River EMC, a local Touchstone Energy Cooperative, is a locally owned not-for-profit electric cooperative that provides electric service to over 44,000 homes, farms and businesses in parts of Harnett, Sampson, Cumberland, Johnston and Bladen counties.

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