REC Continues to Repair Extensive Damage to Electric System
March 5, 2018
As of 9 a.m., fewer than 8,000 REC members remained without power, down from nearly 50,000 members who had lost service at the peak of the relentless wind storm.
While members in REC's Eastern territory of Caroline, Essex, Hanover, King and Queen, King William, Louisa and Spotsylvania will see service restored today, some members west of State Route 29 may not see service restored until Wednesday. Wind gusts greater than 70 miles per hour were recorded in the Western localities, were stronger and the damage was more extensive.
"The most severe impact seemed to be as the high winds came over the Blue Ridge Mountains and knocked down trees, which broke power poles, cross arms and conductors, and damaged a lot of our facilities," said Ron Harris, vice president of engineering and operations for REC. "These areas experienced winds as high as 80 miles per hour, while in other parts of our service territory winds didn't reach these extreme speeds."
More than 800 separate outage events remain, each representing an outage affecting anywhere from 1 to 200 members. "Our crews have to travel to these unique locations and assess the damage, then move forward to restore the members' power," Harris said. "We will be working around the clock with the REC employees, as well as our mutual aid employees, until all Rappahannock members have their power restored."
The workforce - which has already more than doubled - continues to grow as additional mutual aid crews arrived yesterday and more are scheduled to arrive this morning. Crews have replaced or identified approximately 175 broken poles, and continue to discover more as they move further downline. Replacing poles and rebuilding lines is a time consuming process. When such extensive repairs are required on lines serving a small number of members, it sometimes takes crews several hours to a full day of labor to restore relatively few outages. REC recognizes this prolonged outage is a hardship for the thousands of members who remain without power and thanks them for their patience as linemen work to restore all service.
REC provides electric service to over 165,000 connections in parts of 22 Virginia counties. With its general office in Fredericksburg, Va., the Cooperative operates and maintains more than 17,000 miles of power lines through its service area, which ranges from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the tidal waters of the Chesapeake Bay. For more information about REC, please visit www.myrec.coop. Follow REC on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.