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Power companies preparing for Irma’s impact

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Uncertainty continues to be the theme with Hurricane Irma, causing power companies to prepare for a number of possible situations.

Keller Kissam, SCE&G president of retail operations, spoke with the media Friday about the company’s preparations.

“We anticipate hurricane and tropical storm force winds along with possible flooding in low-lying areas of our service territory,” Kissam said. “Safety is our main concern for our customers.”

Kissam said earlier models showed a possible 350,000 people to be affected by the storm, but newer tracks have decreased that number to about 75,000 customers.

Mutual assistance teams from Texas, Tennessee, Ohio and Alabama have been contacted and will join the more than 2,000 SCE&G crews in helping repair damages and restore power.

SCE&G customers can report outages, get updates and check their current status at sceg.com or report downed power lines at 1-888-333-4465.

Dominion Energy Carolina Gas (DECG) began preparing earlier this week, making storm staffing plans, staging equipment and increasing the supplies needed for repairs, according to a press release.

Once the storm passes, Dominion plans to access facilities by helicopter and rights of way. Company crews will need to access remote areas of the state and will be traveling across South Carolina highways, interstates and local roads.

Meanwhile, Santee Cooper increased its alert status. Approximately 2 million South Carolinians depend on the utility as their power source, either directly or through the state’s electric cooperatives.

Santee Cooper is at Condition 4 alert status, which means potential disaster-causing conditions are approximately 72 hours away and adverse effects to utility facilities and service area appear likely, according to a press release.

Santee Cooper employees are:

  • Checking and fueling vehicles, including line trucks
  • Making sure communications equipment is in proper working order
  • Taking inventory and procuring supplies as needed, such as utility poles, electric transformers and associated equipment
  • Beginning arrangements for additional resources, including additional line and tree crews, should they be needed.

“Santee Cooper is monitoring the storm and preparing accordingly, so that we are best positioned to keep the lights on for our customers across the state,” said Arnold Singleton, senior vice president of power delivery. “If outages do occur, we will begin restoration efforts as soon as we safely can.”

Customers can report outages at 1-888-769-7688 or online at www.santeecooper.com/stormcenter

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