REC Continues Restoration Efforts after 'Mini Derecho'

May 15, 2018

Power restoration efforts will continue overnight after storms packing winds of up to 75 mph barreled through Rappahannock Electric Cooperative's (REC) service territory Monday evening, knocking out power to more than 38,000 members at the storm's peak.

As of 5 p.m., more than 6,000 members remained without service, and REC estimates the majority of those members will have power by late tomorrow night. REC cautions additional storms forecast for tonight and tomorrow may slow restoration efforts as crews take precautions to ensure they can work safely.

The cluster of storms, which the National Weather Service called a "mini derecho," snapped trees, downed lines and broke about 25 poles throughout REC's service territory.

"The damage was severe and widespread," said Maxie Rozell, manager of REC's eastern region. "The dangerous winds, coupled with heavy downpours, caused extensive damage to REC's electrical system."

In Virginia, REC was the hardest-hit electric cooperative. As a result, REC was able to call in 24 crews from other electric co-ops to work with REC crews and contractors until service is restored to all members.

  • Avoid all power lines that have fallen. Consider all lines energized, as well as trees or limbs in contact with lines. Please report downed power lines to REC and your local police department.
  • If you are using a portable electric generator, do not connect it directly to household wiring. Power from generators can back feed along power lines and electrocute anyone coming in contact with them, including line workers making repairs. Also, only use a generator outside and away from doors and windows to keep dangerous carbon monoxide fumes from entering the house.
  • Those without power are urged to exercise extreme caution if using candles for emergency lighting, and to not leave burning candles unattended. They are also urged to cut off major appliances until after power is restored.
  • Check on friends and neighbors, especially those who are ill or elderly, who may need assistance or a place to cool off.

REC provides electric service to over 167,000 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 Follow REC on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.