As Hurricane Issac continues to batter the Gulf Coast, linemen from a group of electric cooperatives in South Carolina are on their way to Louisiana to help repair widespread damage being caused by the storm.
Fairfield Electric Cooperative workers Eugene Talford, Fedward Richmond, Brian Schneider, Jaime Granger, Bubba Tanner, Cliff Collins, Shawn Peake, and Austin Veronee left Wednesday for the Gulf Coast to help with restoring power to the hard hit region.
“They’re facing a very difficult situation in Louisiana,” says Todd Carter, vice president of Loss, Control and Training at The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina. “With the ground being saturated by so much rainfall, it doesn’t take much wind to bring down trees and power lines.”
As of Wednesday morning, news reports claimed more than 545,000 homes and businesses were without power in La, with more outages expected.
Personnel from Aiken Electric Cooperative in Aiken, Newberry Electric Cooperative in Newberry and Fairfield Electric Cooperative in Blythewood will be assisting Washington-St. Tammany Electric Cooperative based in Franklinton, La.
Because of the slow-moving nature of the storm, restoration efforts likely will not begin until Thursday morning.
“We plan extensively for events like these,” said Carter “so when our cooperative neighbors need help, we’re ready to send our crews there as quickly as possible to help get power restored. Our Louisiana counterparts have expressed real concern that the duration of this storm is causing serious problems.”
Carter says more cooperative crews in S.C. are on stand-by and may be called to assist recovery efforts once the storm has passed.
Preliminary estimates of damage to the electric distribution system in southeast La. are severe enough that crews are prepared to work in Louisiana up to 10 days.