NEWBERRY — Electric cooperatives from South Carolina, including Newberry, 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 Newberry, Horry, Laurens, Marlboro, Aiken, Fairfield, Edisto, Lynches River, Santee, Coastal, Pee Dee, and Black River electric cooperative 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.