Santee Cooper will have approximately 130 line and tree crews –roughly four times the number during normal conditions - working to restore outages on its system caused by Hurricane Florence, including more than 70 mutual aid and contract crews coming from Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana and Missouri.
This morning, Santee Cooper moved to OpCon 1 status. Santee Cooper crews are standing by, with tropical-force winds expected to move into the northernmost part of the utility's service territory later this afternoon. Mutual aid and contract crews are already on the road and will stage themselves outside of Florence's path, so that they can quickly be available once travel is safe again.
Santee Cooper urges customers to prepare for what may be lengthy power outages, until our crews are able to get out and work safely. Current forecasts call for tropical-force winds lasting through Saturday in much of our service territory.
"Santee Cooper crews are ready to respond to outages as soon as we safely can," said Jim Brogdon, interim president and CEO. "In addition to the contract line and tree crews available for the lines, we have increased staffing at our generating stations to be sure we can respond quickly to any station issues, and our call center will be staffed 24 hours a day through the storm. "
Customers with generators are asked to follow these guidelines, to keep themselves and the utility crews all safe:
- Always follow the manufacturer's instructions completely.
- Never connect a portable generator to existing house wiring. It could back feed on power lines and send electricity toward line workers, risking serious or fatal injuries.
- Connect appliances directly to the generator. Refer to the owner's manual for specific instructions on load capacity, approved power cords, etc.
- Operate generators outside, as they emit harmful fumes and contain combustible fuel.
- Add fuel to the generator only when it is not running and has had time to sufficiently cool.
- Always properly ground generators before operating. Refer to owner's manual for specific instructions.
Caution is also urged for anyone encountering downed power lines: do not touch or drive over them, and remember that downed lines could be submerged in water. Treat all power lines as if they are energized and report them to Santee Cooper at 1-888-769-7688.
Customers can report outages and follow restoration efforts at www.stormcenter.santeecooper.com. Customers can also report outages by phone at 1-888-769-7688 and follow updates on our Facebook and Twitter pages or website.
Santee Cooper is South Carolina's largest power provider, the largest Green Power generator and the ultimate source of electricity for 2 million people across the state. Through its low-cost, reliable and environmentally responsible electricity and water services, and through innovative partnerships and initiatives that attract and retain industry and jobs, Santee Cooper powers South Carolina. To learn more, visit www.santeecooper.com.