Power restoration still moving slowly

Published 8:28 am Saturday, February 20, 2021

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The number of power outages in Charlotte County Saturday morning continue to show painstakingly slow progress for Southside Electric Cooperative (SEC) a full week after the area was hit by a major ice storm.

As of Saturday, Feb. 20 at 8 a.m. Charlotte County still had 2,896 SEC customers without power. That’s down from 3,178 customers who were without power Friday morning. Dominion Energy and Mecklenburg Coop currently have no customers in the area without power in Charlotte County. SEC reduced its total number without power in Charlotte County by 236 customers between Friday and Saturday.

In a Thursday meeting with county officials, SEC officials said it may be March 1 before power to every customer in the area is restored. The company said 90% of its customers can expect to be online by Feb. 25.

In a Facebook post Saturday morning, SEC said crews would continue working around the clock this weekend and that significant progress was expected to be made throughout the day.

SEC brought in 120 additional linemen from Rappahannock Electric Friday but said they did not expect to bring in other because they are at the maximum number of workers they can handle logistically.

One of the problems for SEC is the small number of customers who are out of power per outage. The largest number of customers without power in a single outage is 495 in the area south of Drakes Branch and west of Saxe. A crew has not been assigned to the outage yet according to SEC’s outage center map but the company points out in a Facebook post that mutual aid and contract crews do not show up on the online outage maps.

Most of the 1,074 outages the coop is working to fix to restore power to the 19,843 customers still waiting for power are in the single digits of customers affected.

There are no outages that would put 1,000 customers back online when the repair is made. The average outage only affects less than 20 customers at 18.43 customers per outage. Most of SEC’s outages affect 10 customers of fewer.

Charlotte County has the third most outages of any county in the SEC coverage area. Dinwiddie has 3,929 still without power. Lunenburg has 3,003 followed by Charlotte’s number of 2,896.