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Winter Storms Keep Co-op Crews Busy

Winter Storm in North-Carolina Unlike our neighbors in N.C., we’ve been fortunate to avoid the winter storms so far here in the Upper Cumberland, but the season has just begun.

Electric cooperative line crews in several states are keeping cold weather gear and coveralls close by as they restore power to members knocked offline by a series of winter storms.

Since mid-November, four major winter storms have brought ice, snow and blasts of frigid cold weather to co-op served territories east of the Rockies. The latest storm knocked out electricity to more than 50,000 co-op served meters in the Carolinas and Virginia in early December.

Many of those outages affected some of the same co-ops that spent days restoring service following an early season snowstorm that swept across the region Nov. 15.

North Carolina’s 26 electric co-ops reported 45,000 outages as of Sunday, December 9, but that number was down to about 4,700 by the following Tuesday morning. Improved weather conditions are expected to help keep restoration efforts on track.

In South Carolina, electric co-ops were working to restore service to about 3,600 co-op-served meters following the storm, primarily along the Blue Ridge Mountains. That same weather system caused outages here in Tennessee and Kentucky.

In Virginia, heavy snow caused problems with falling and leaning trees, which damaged electrical equipment across the co-op’s service territory, according to Ronald O. White, vice president of member and public relations for Southside Electric Cooperative. About 1,300 members of that co-op remained without power two days after the weather system moved through.

Crews from other co-ops in the area joined contractors to help Southside EC repair its lines.

Derrill Holly
NRECA staff writer

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