Southeastern Electric Utilities Swing Into Hurricane Recovery Mode
Companies Report Damage in Georgia and the Carolinas is Worse than Expected
In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, electric utility companies and cooperatives in the storm’s path have mobilized massive recovery operations. Companies that hunkered down as the storm approached and initiated emergency operations plans that included calling for additional line personnel from contractors and other utilities, have swung into recovery mode.
In north Florida 41% of the members of Clay Electric Cooperative Inc., lost power.
Georgia Power officials said Matthew was the strongest storm to hit the region in a century, interrupting service to more than 340,000 customers. On Oct. 10, the utility reported more than 500 distribution poles had been damaged or broken and nearly 38 miles of wire needed to be replaced.
A statement from Duke Energy said “Hurricane Matthew has left large portions of the Carolinas more heavily damaged than projected, on a scale similar to the destruction of Hurricanes Hugo and Floyd. In some Duke Energy service areas, the electrical system will need to be rebuilt.”
Duke energy reported 660,000 outages in the Carolinas. It was assessing damage with six aerial patrols and has set up three base camps or tent cities to house and feed about 6,000 additional personnel sent from other utilities to help with recovery and reconstruction.
South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. reported that more than 290,000 customers lost power at the storm’s peak, and about 80% had been restored by Oct. 11.
SCE&G’s parent company SCANA, and Santee Cooper are constructing two new reactors at the Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Station, in Jenkinsville, S.C. A SCANA spokesman says that the project suffered “no significant operational impact.”
A Georgia Power spokesman also reported no impact from the storm on its construction of two new reactors at Plant Vogtle, in Augusta, Ga.