As Hurricane Isaac continues to batter the Gulf Coast, lineman 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.
“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 Louisiana, 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, Louisiana. 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 South Carolina 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 Louisiana are severe enough that crews are prepared to work in Louisiana up to 10 days.
The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, Inc. is the state association of independent, member-owned electric cooperatives. More than 1.5 million South Carolinians in all 46 counties use power provided by electric cooperatives. Together, the co-ops operate the state’s largest electric power system with more than 70,000 miles of power lines across 70 percent of the state. More information is available at www.ecsc.org.