SEC brings in more crews as frustration grows

Published 9:05 am Sunday, February 21, 2021

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Southside Electric Cooperative (SEC) said it made significant progress over the past 24 hours restoring power to more than 1,000 homes, but still have 15,500 people without power in its 18-county area as of Sunday morning.

In Charlotte County, the number of people without power is 2,346. That’s down from the 2,896 number SEC reported Saturday morning.  Outages affecting more than 200 customers remain in the Phenix and Randolph area of the county.

More crews from Dominion Energy and other contract crews arrived Saturday morning giving SEC the 889 workers in the largest number of crews SEC has had in the field since the ice storm struck more than a week ago.

SEC said it expected to make more significant progress today, but cautioned the number of people restored will likely get smaller due to the more isolated problems on the system that affect fewer customers.

The cooperative is providing periodic updates on its Facebook page where it is clear the patience of those who have been without power for more than a week is wearing thin.

“I live on Midway Road, Phenix, Va., and the single-phase line that we are on feeds about 20 people in which many are elderly,” Corey Newcomb commented on SEC’s Facebook page Saturday. “This line has no trees on it, but does have two different places that are broken and crews have been just up the road from us a couple days ago working and just today were about a half mile in the other direction from us working another single-phase line and yet no one came here. It is a real shame that an hour at most problem could not have been fixed by now and 20 more people would have power again. While I appreciate all the linemen for their hard work, I am very disappointed in managing this situation. This tap always has problems, but mostly because it doesn’t have the proper clearance. Right much of this line is not 15 feet on each side. Management and the supervisor over the right-of-way crews should be ashamed. Eight days without power, but I’m sure that my bill will be higher because of this storm in which SEC will be completely reimbursed by the government.”

The comments range from compassion for the line workers out in the weather restoring the electricity to complaints about the cooperatives leadership and lots of questions about the outage map, tree clearing policies, and how prepared the cooperative was for the storm.

Charlotte County remains the county with the third-most outages in SEC’s system. Dinwiddie County has 3,191 SEC customers without power.

Southside officials said they would provide another update today at noon.