Utility crews have been working South Carolina since the early morning hours to restore power knocked out by Tropical Storm Michael.
At the peak of the outages, more than 135,000 outages were reported across the state by Duke Energy, the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina and SCE&G.
“The thing that really is working in our favor is: one, the preparations that we’ve done and second is the fact that behind this storm is some good clear weather… that we’re going to be able to work with,” SCE&G spokesman Eric Boomhower said.
Before they go out to make repairs, line workers will assess the safety of the situation first.
“As the most severe weather clears out, those crews go in and it starts with damage assessment, trying to figure out where are the trouble spots and then we start to allocate the resources to those areas as quickly as possible,” Boomhower said.
Boomhower said about 2,800 SCE&G employees are working to restore power with the help of about 300 other workers from Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
“It’s part of a mutual support network,” he said. “We often send our crews to help the utilities in their time of need and that’s the great thing about the utility industry is we have each others’ backs in these types of situations.”
Even though the storm is passing and conditions are improving, Boomhower warns people to be vigilant and safe around power lines.
“If they happen to come across downed power lines, stay clear of those power lines,” he said. “Don’t go near the lines or anything that’s touching those lines. You cannot tell that they are live or not just by looking at them. You have to assume that they are energized.”
Boomhower also has safety advice for people who may use a generator to provide power if their electric service is interrupted: never run the generator in an enclosed area. Don’t plug the generator into an outlet in your home.
“We hear tragic stories because people weren’t using a generator properly,” he said. “Don’t plug those generators into outlets in your home because that can cause backfeed of power into the system and you might have crews that are actually working on lines that could be affected by that.”
Boomhower said always report your outage to your provider. Don’t assume your neighbors will report it.
SCE&G has a system that allows you to register your mobile number with the utility and report outages via text. You also can report outages on the SCE&G website or by calling.
“When we have widespread outages call volumes could go up and that might lead to some wait times,” he said.