Employees praised for restoring the Power

Strong thunderstorms Sunday night broke several poles on the Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative system causing power outages to 5,500 of its members. All employees were called in to assist with the repairs. Terry Ballenger, Vice President of Communications at Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative, gives an update on power restoration in the Upstate of South Carolina. “I’m sure as the folks who were affected by this outage could tell you it was a really quick thing. I mean it was boom, boom, boom and we had about five or six of our main circuits go out within just about a ten minute period, so that gives you some picture of the viscousness of that thunderstorm but it created quit a bit of trouble. Oconee County had some hard hit areas. There was a little trouble in Greenville and Anderson counties, but Pickens really got clobbered, especially the area to the north of the City of Pickens. We started out at the height of the trouble with about 5,500 members out and we got crews on the scene as quickly as we could. We had all of our folks working and brought in some contractors to help take up some of the slack. They worked over night and saw some progress there getting folks on. There was a problem on one of the transmission lines that serves our substation up there in northern Pickens County and when that transmission line got up and going we were able to get some corrections made to the distribution system that brought quit a few folks back on pretty quickly at that point in time. Anyway, things have progressed and today as of 11am, we’ve got about 250 households still out. There are 18 in Oconee County and 232 in Pickens County. We are continuing to work and hopefully before the end of the day we will have everybody back in service. We did have quit a bit of damage. I talked to our Vice President of Operations late last night and he said we had at least 16 broken poles. When you have poles break that makes the repair time a lot longer in getting folks back on. Our folks have done a tremendous job and we really appreciate the patience of our members that have been inconvenienced by this. It has been another one of those experiences and we are about to get it over with.” Repair crews have been assigned to all remaining outages, so hopefully the power will be restored today.