By: Whitney WeaverStaff Writerwweaver@heartlandpublications.com
October 30, 2012
Linemen of Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation worked throughout the night on Monday, restoring thousands of power outages caused by the effects of Hurricane Sandy.
BREMCO Director of Public Relations Renee Whitener said that winds, and damage to the electric system, picked up around 11 p.m.
As of 6 a.m. Tuesday, Ashe County had reported 2,017 people affected by outages primarily in the Baldwin community and on N.C. 163.
“Ashe was the hardest hit overnight,” said Whitener.
According to Blue Ridge Electric’s power outage map Tuesday morning, there were 100 Ashe residents without power at 10 a.m., 172 without power at 11 a.m., and by the afternoon, numbers of reported outages were back down to 117.
The numbers may seem large, but in their service area of Ashe and six surrounding counties, these numbers comprise less than one percent of Blue Ridge Electric’s total membership.
The majority of outages Tuesday were around Warrensville, Lansing, and parts of Jefferson.
Outages were scattered across all counties in Blue Ridge Electric’s service area but areas of concentrated outages also occurred where several entire circuits serving communities were affected.
Even with a strong right-of-way maintenance program to protect power lines from trees and limbs to maintain reliable electric service, fallen trees and limbs outside of the right-of-the-way still contributed to outages.
Today, linemen are still out in force, and all employees remain in high alert emergency response mode as they work to restore remaining outages this morning, said Whitener.
Assisting linemen from sister electric cooperative Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation and other utilities are also responding to outages.
“If outage conditions don’t require additional assistance, visiting line technicians will be dispatched to areas further north where the hurricane has hit harder, causing significant damage and leaving millions in the dark,” said Whitener.
Blue Ridge Electric reminds members to report all outages to the cooperative’s PowerLine at 1-800-448-2383.
The cooperative also reminds the public to be aware of the dangers of downed power lines, which can still be energized and cause serious injury or even death. No one but a trained line technician should handle or be near a downed power line. Report downed power lines to a cooperative employee by calling any local Blue Ridge Electric office or toll free: 1-800-451-5474.
To view a live outage map at any time, visit www.BlueRidgeEMC.com and click on the “outage map” link located on the bottom right hand side of the screen. More safety and preparation information is also available in the “Storm Room” at www.BlueRidgeEMC.com. Information can also be found on Blue Ridge Electric’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/blueridgeemc.