Electric companies bracing for potential restoration efforts after Dorian

Thousands of customers are expected to lose power during the storm

SUMTER, S.C. (WOLO) —Due to the heavy winds, thousands across the state are expected to lose power.

Electric companies are bringing in crews from other states to help them restore power starting tomorrow morning.

With winds expected to exceed 35 miles per hour Wednesday night, Black River Electric Cooperative says nearly 10,000 people in Sumter, Clarendon, Kershaw, and Lee Counties could lose power at some point in the night.

In order to tackle what happens after Hurricane Dorian rolls through the area, Black River Electric Cooperative is bringing in some help to help serve more customers.

“We’ve got three different co-ops in Kentucky coming in to help us. We’ll meet them when they get in tonight, and go through a safety briefing, explaining to them where we are at, what we do, what to do in case of an emergency, what voltages we deal with,” said Charlie Allen, the CEO of Black River Electric Cooperative.

Crews across the region will wait until the wind dies down in order to safely fix power lines.

“We’ve got to get our lineman up in the buckets, because when that wind speed hits about 35 miles per hour, it’s not safe for them to fly the buckets and be up at those heights, from 35 up until 125 feet up in the air,” said Keller Kissam, the Director of Electric Operations for Dominion Energy.

Dominion Energy says the current conditions could leave at least 100,000 people in their service area without power due to the storm.

They also have 600 off-system crew members coming in from Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Alabama to help out over the next few days.

As crews get ready for a busy Thursday, both companies want their customers to be patient.

“The storm will come in quickly. The damage will come quickly. We have an army of resources to serve our customers, and they will continue to work until the very last customer is restored,” Kissam said.

Meanwhile in Sumter County, Allen says the effects of the storms on power can’t be corrected in a matter of minutes.

“We can’t fix the tap that goes to your house without fixing the main line on the street. Rather than spending a lot of time getting a few people back on, we’d rather spend a few minutes getting a lot of people back on and then go back and get those fewer people back on. Understand we might drive by you, that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten about you,” Allen said.

Allen says 40 trucks will start addressing power outages first thing Thursday morning.

Both companies encourage customers to download their respective apps in order to report power outages.

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