As of 10 a.m. Friday, nearly 228,000 South Carolina power customers did not have electricity, and it will likely remain that way for many of them this weekend.
South Carolina Electric & Gas reported more than 71,200 were without power in its region, mostly in the Midlands. More than 31,000 customers are still without power in Aiken County and thousands have been without electricity for three days now. Meanwhile, Duke Energy Progress reported nearly 50,000 customers are still without power. The majority of those outages are in Florence, Marion, and Sumter counties. Almost 100,000 electric cooperative customers were also without service.
Duke spokesperson Jennifer Jabon said crews are working to restore power as quickly as possible, but predicted it could be 11:45 p.m. Sunday before they were finished.
“We do have a system, process, and sequence of how we restore power,” she told South Carolina Radio Network. “Sometimes due to the extensive damage related to the ice storm, it can be challenging to restore power. Unfortunately, that is why some customers have experienced a multi-day outage.”
Gov. Nikki Haley is in Aiken Friday morning to observe storm damage and power restoration efforts. She will also meet with local officials and utility representatives before heading to an emergency shelter housed at Colleton Middle School in Walterboro.
The city of Sumter was hit hard by the storm that knocked out power for thousands of residents. Deputy Police Chief Alvin Holston said more than a dozen traffic lights were out at one point along Broad Street, a primary highway that runs south into downtown.
“We certainly had a good taste of a northern winter situation, unexpectedly,” he said. But Holston added only a few car crashes occurred under the circumstances, which he credited to most residents following emergency’s officials recommendations to stay off the roads.