LOUISA COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Thousands of Rappahannock Electric Cooperative customers are now on their eighth day without power. 8News spoke with the cooperative’s CEO on Monday and he told us that downed trees and snapped power lines continue to delay repairs.

Virginia was hit hard by a snow storm on Jan. 3 causing massive power outages, a crisis on I-95 and damages throughout the commonwealth. Rural parts of Central Virginia like Louisa County were hit especially hard.

REC CEO John Hewa said that the electric cooperative saw twice as many damaged power poles during this storm as they did after Hurricane Isabel.

Hewa said they’ve brought in more teams than ever from out of state but they can’t bring in anymore without fear of teams overlapping.

“In the eyes of our membership, time is a safety factor. I get that. Our team gets that,” Hewa said. “We are at that point where we don’t want to have crews in the field overlapping and stepping over each other in electrical sense, because of the risks affiliated.”

As for those members anxiously awaiting the return of their electricity, many have learned to rely on text alerts. But this outage is different, Hewa said the text alert system runs the risk of sending misinformation.

He said so many trees have fallen on homeowners’ land and damaged individual lines running to their homes. Typically the cooperative would send an alert after a major outage is restored but if an individual home has further damage the members could return home to find themselves still without power.

“We’re making progress, but we are dealing with more isolated cases at this point. So the work starts out focusing on the largest scale outages,” Hewa said. “And now it’s beginning to focus on smaller pockets.”

After the interview with 8News, the cooperative also shared a release laying out a timeline for the remaining outages.

According to REC, all outages with a crew en route or on site should be restored Monday or Tuesday at the latest. All outages with a crew assigned should be restored Tuesday and places with severe damage may have to wait until Wednesday. For outages without a crew assigned, members could be without power until Wednesday or Thursday depending on how severe the damage is.

“While we restored 97%, that’s a little consolation to that member, or member owner that’s still off, and we want those members to make sure make sure that they know we haven’t forgotten about then we will get to their home, we are working to do this, both safely and timely,” Hewa said.

He explained that for the members without power, REC has been working with localities to make sure members have access to water, wastewater facilities, warming shelters and medical facilities.

Hewa said, “I understand the desperation and the strain and the unbelievable circumstances that the membership and our consumers have experienced over this past week.”