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Assessments reveal extensive damage

They types of conditions power crews are finding a day after Hurricane Matthew

Electric cooperatives in South Carolina are completing damage assessments Sunday. At 2 p.m., there are more than 263,000 electric co-op outages affecting more than 35 percent of their power delivery systems. At its peak, the storm had caused more than 300,000 electric cooperative outages Saturday evening.

After an operations conference call with all 20 of the state’s electric cooperatives Sunday morning, this is the most current information on the status of the power delivery systems:

  • Electric co-op crews from Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia are helping to restore power in S.C. However, some crews report that traveling is difficult in many places. Evacuees returning home and poor road conditions are causing extensive traffic delays.
  • South Carolina co-op crews also report travel complications at service areas impacted by the storm. In the Lowcountry, co-op crews report they are cutting their way into some places, and other roads are washed out and impassable. At 11 a.m., the S.C. Department of Transportation reports 286 road closures, and 21 bridges closed.
  • Co-ops report “hundreds of broken poles,” a reference to distribution poles that carry electricity to homes and businesses. Construction crews are mobilized across the state to help rebuild.
  • Service to many homes and business cannot be restored until transmission—that is, substations and the high-voltage wires extending from them—is repaired. Parts of the transmission systems delivering power to all but four of the state’s electric cooperatives have to be rebuilt by Santee Cooper. The utility provides transmission services in the most affected areas, and said Saturday that Hurricane Matthew “delivered the biggest hit to Santee Cooper’s transmission and distribution system since Hurricane Hugo 27 years ago.”
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Real-time outage information—by county or by electric cooperative—is available at www.ecsc.org.

Electric cooperatives build and maintain the state's largest power-distribution system. More than 74,000 miles of co-op power lines cover 70 percent of the state — more than all the other utilities in S.C. combined.

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