Crews worked through the night working to restore power to the thousands of customers who were left in the dark following this weekend’s visit from Hurricane Matthew.
As of Monday afternoon, thousands of customers from Duke Energy, South River Electric Membership Corporation and Four County Electric Membership Corporation, were still without power.
According to Cathy O’Dell, vice president of member services and public relations with South River, additional crews have been brought into the area to assist local personnel restore power to areas hit by the storm.
“This has been an absolute catastrophe,” O’Dell shared. “I’ve never seen anything like this before.”
South River added nearly a dozen tree crews and line crews to assist in the efforts of local personnel, who O’Dell said had been in the field since Sunday morning. There are 110 linemen and tree crew members in the field and nearly 70 vehicles are being utilized to restore service.
“Our crews, along with assistance from several tree cutting crews, contract line crews and crews from sister cooperatives in Kentucky and Tennessee, will focus on several areas one being Gray’s Creek, which we believe we can have restored soon,” said SREMC CEO Chris Spears. “There are several areas as well, such as the Erwin area where brought in special tracked equipment to conquer the heavy standing water. Our goal is to reduce our current 21,000 outages to 10,000 or fewer by the end of the day.”
According to O’Dell, the crew has done everything possible to restore customers’ power as quickly as possible.
“People can’t easily see the extent of the conditions,” O’Dell said. “We have had men standing in waist-deep water working to get the power going.”
As of Monday afternoon, South River was reporting 8,500 customers without service.
At press time Monday, Duke Energy was reporting 12,494 customers in Sampson County still without power. An estimated restoration time for all outages is Sunday, Oct. 16.
“Power may be restored to some homes before that as our crews continue to make progress in the area,” Anne Sheffield, spokesperson with Duke Energy stated.
According to Sheffield, the damage to power lines is widespread and significant.
“There were many transmission lines that were affected and crews have been working hard to complete the repairs,” Sheffield added. “Already, we’ve restored a considerable portion of the load to South River EMC and are working to complete the remaining repairs.”
Crews from Four County Electric worked Sunday and Monday, restoring power to many customers, but approximately 14,000 were still without power as of lunch Monday.
“Crews continue to contend with navigating treacherous, flooded roads and clearing debris before they can begin the work of making repairs to the system,” officials from Four County shared on their website.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.