DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — As of Saturday, nearly 20,000 Southside Electric Cooperative members are still without power due to ice storm damage to powerlines.
Frustration has continued to grow among those experiencing the outages, even causing many people to reach out to 8News for help in finding more information on when their power would be restored.
On Saturday, Southside Electric representatives invited 8News and Lashrecse Aird, the Virginia State Delegate for the 63rd District, to view some of the damages to power lines in the Dinwiddie area, which has over 3,700 members still without power.
Throughout Dinwiddie, trees were lying on power lines and many poles were split and severely damaged from the past week’s winter weather.
Jeff Edwards, the President and CEO of Southside Electric, said “we have severe damage in our system across all 18 counties that we serve.”
“We’ve been hard at it since day one,” Edwards said. “We are working around the clock with our line personnel and mutual aid crews to restore their power, but it is a slow process due to the nature of the damage we incurred.”
But many members of the electric company feel the restoration has been too slow.
Edwards said the vast amount of tree coverage beside the power lines in rural counties like Dinwiddie has caused the majority of the damages, and emphasized that crews are out on the roads handling the problem.
“We have 12 times the amount of workforce right now,” Edwards said. “Men, personnel, equipment; they’re working hard and we’re going to continue at it until we get your power back on.”
8News did witness electrical crews in several different areas of the county.
Delegate Aird said the past week’s winter weather was unprecedented and “I don’t think, even with the forecast, we could have anticipated the devastation that has occurred here in Dinwiddie.”
Aird says power should be restored to the majority of the county over the course of the next week, and she wanted to see the damages for herself to get a better judgment of how bad the problem is.
“It’s easier to do from behind a desk and an email,” Aird said. “Being out here and witnessing the devastation and seeing how complicated the restoration is, I am able to offer more details, more transparency and greater information.”
One representative told 8News that “this is the biggest outage and restoration effort I have seen in my 32-year career.”
However, Dinwiddie is not the only area seeing major power outages. Lunenburg, Charlotte and Nottoway each have thousands of members without power — and Southside Electric representatives say they are aiming to be more transparent to communicate with those struggling with no power.