RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — As a second winter storm began moving through Virginia on Thursday there were still 22,700 members of the Southside Electric Cooperative without power. As of 9 a.m. the cooperative had 938 power outages left to address.
According to SEC, these outages included 346 reported broken poles, 60 reported broken cross arms, 606 downed wires and 14 circuit outages.
Throughout this round of winter weather, the peak number of members without power was 48,000 over the weekend. By Monday afternoon SEC had ongoing 586 outages and 41,300 impacted members.
The decrease in members impacted and increase in outages is due to the cooperative working to get the largest power lines up and working first. An SEC spokesperson tells 8News that when three phase power lines are restored, bring power to multiple members, it can knock out smaller power lines. This still restores power to more members but can create new smaller outages.
Many of the customers still without power have been without for up to six days. The electric cooperative sent a release on Thursday outlining all their preparation and restoration efforts as well as outlining the challenges of addressing rural power outages.
The release states that SEC had ordered poles, cross-arms and wires ahead of Saturday’s storm to use for repairs. They also had nine crews brought in from South Carolina, hired two contract crews and four tree crews.
“SEC personnel have done a great job, assisted by our VA, MD, DE Association of Electric Cooperatives in locating crews. We now have been assisted by crews from NC, SC and MD. Our operations workforce typically consists of 86 employees and, post storm we are working 310 people in the field – working 16-hour days during restoration operations.”
In addition to crews already working in the area right now, 120 more workers will be heading to Central Virginia to help with outages.
SEC says they are prepared to deal with Thursday’s ice storm and any outages brought with it.
An SEC spokesperson explains that one major complication to fixing power outages right now is muddy conditions getting in the way of reaching rural areas. Traveling dirt roads have proved especially complicated in the wintery weather.