Over 22,000 REC members were without power as the ice storm continued overnight. Line crews and contractors are out in full force today and have restored electric service to more than 7,000 member-owners. As of noon today, nearly 15,000 member-owners are still without power.
Six crews from South Carolina – Black River Electric Cooperative, Newberry Electric Cooperative, and Palmetto Electric Cooperative are joining the REC workforce to assist in outage restoration midday today. Additionally, two crews from Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative will join the REC and South Carolina crews. Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative is assisting outage restoration through the support of three of their contract crews. An additional crew from South Carolina will arrive tonight to join the teams.
“We expect to restore a large number of the outages today, with many more that are remaining outages being restored tomorrow,” said Casey Hollins, REC’s director of communications and public relations. Depending on the extent of the damage crews find as they work across the widespread areas affected, there will be some outages will extend into at least Tuesday evening.”
The remaining outages are concentrated in REC’s Eastern Region, including the counties of Hanover, Louisa, Caroline, Spotsylvania, King William, and King and Queen among others.
As crews make progress, new outages are occurring from trees springing back up and lines slapping together when the ice falls, and trees giving up at their roots because of weight with the saturated soils. This challenge could delay the progress our crews and mutual aid support are making today.
As work continues, crews are also finding broken poles and downed lines caused by ice-laden trees that have fallen. Downed trees and muddy rights of way also present challenges for the crews as they work to access damage along the Cooperative’s rights-of-ways and other areas. Safety is always REC’s top priority, and all line workers, contractors and related field personnel continue to follow safety guidelines related to COVID-19.
“We appreciate the patience and understanding of all member-owners who remain without power as all of the crews work as quickly and safely as they can to restore all service,” added Hollins.