Electric cooperative line crews in several states are keeping cold weather gear and coveralls close by as they restore power to members knocked offline by a series of winter storms.
Since mid-November, four major winter storms have brought ice, snow and blasts of frigid cold weather to co-op-served territories east of the Rockies. The latest storm knocked out electricity to more than 50,000 co-op-served meters in the Carolinas and Virginia on Sunday.
Many of those outages affected some of the same co-ops that spent days restoring service following an early season snowstorm that swept across the region Nov. 15.
North Carolina’s 26 electric co-ops reported 45,000 outages as of Sunday afternoon, but that number was down to about 4,700 Tuesday morning, said Lisa Crawley, a communications specialist with North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. Improved weather conditions are expected to help keep restoration efforts on track.
In South Carolina, electric co-ops were working to restore service to about 3,600 co-op-served meters on Monday, primarily along the Blue Ridge Mountains. Outages were also reported by co-ops in Missouri, Tennessee and Kentucky, and the same weather system caused problems in parts of Virginia.
About 1,300 members of Southside Electric Cooperative remained without power early Tuesday, said Ronald O. White, vice president of member and public relations for the Crewe, Virginia-based co-op. “At the peak of the event, nearly 10,000 members were impacted,” White said.
Heavy snow caused problems with falling and leaning trees, which damaged electrical equipment across the co-op’s service territory, White said. Crews from Warsaw, Virginia-based Northern Neck Electric Cooperative and Choptank Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Denton, Maryland, joined contractors to help Southside EC repair its lines.
Derrill Holly is a staff writer at NRECA.