Fairfield County Electric Cooperative has stepped up in relief efforts from Hurricane Sandy. The coop sent eight crew members to Northern Neck Electric Cooperative in Warsaw, Va. The line crew joined crews from South Carolina, Alabama, North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee are assisting NNEC with power restoration to approximately 2041 NNEC members who were without electricity.The crews arrived Oct. 30 and it was hoped they could restore power to all of the Nothern Neck Electric Cooperative members by Wednesday.
“When that work is done that Warsaw cooperative will release our crew to another coop in need, probably in another state.
The community has ownership in the cooperative and it means a lot that we are able to help those in need, said Doug Payne vice president of member and strategic services for the Fairfield Electric Cooperative.
In addition to those eight employees, electric cooperatives from South Carolina have sent 108 employees to states being directly impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
With the historic storm still offshore Monday afternoon, Hurricane Sandy had already knocked out power to more than 115,000 people along the Eastern Seaboard.
“This is a major mobilization of personnel on our part,” said Todd Carter, vice-president of loss control and training at The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina. “In terms of storm assistance, this is the largest number of workers we’ve sent out-of-state in recent memory.”
In all, 15 electric cooperatives from South Carolina are sending assistance to the region, with the slated to help recovery efforts in Virginia.
Crews have departed from Horry Electric Cooperative in Conway, Laurens Electric Cooperative in Laurens, Marlboro Electric Cooperative in Bennettsville, Aiken Electric Cooperative in Aiken, Fairfield Electric Cooperative in Blythewood, Edisto Electric Cooperative in Bamberg, Lynches River Electric Cooperative in Pageland, Santee Electric Cooperative in Kingstree, Coastal Electric Cooperative in Walterboro, Pee Dee Electric Cooperative in Darlington, Newberry Electric Cooperative in Newberry and Black River Electric Cooperative in Sumter to assist six of Virginia’s electric cooperatives.
Additionally, Berkeley Electric Cooperative in Moncks Corner sent a construction crew to New Jersey to assist Sussex Rural Electric Cooperative. Sent to help Adams Electric Cooperative in Pennsylvania are personnel from Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative in Lexington and Palmetto Electric Cooperative in Ridgeland.
“Everyone in our industry realizes a storm of this magnitude can do extreme harm to our power distribution systems,” said Carter. “Sending this many crews to help restore power is indicative of how serious we think this will be. Given the size of the storm and the number of people in its path, there’s no question our counterparts are going to need a great deal of help in the coming days.”
The Edison Electric Institute, a Washington-based group that represents hundreds of publicly traded utilities, warned that power failures resulting from this storm may affect more than 10 million people in the mid-Atlantic and northeast regions, some of whom may be without electricity for up to seven days.