Irma’s Path Reaches Western NC Co-ops

As one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes on record, Hurricane Irma has left a path of destruction throughout Florida, into Georgia and the Carolinas. Peak outages in electric co-op territories totaled more than 1 million, with close to 12,000 of those in North Carolina as of Tuesday morning.

Restoration work in hard-hit western NC counties continues today, with several North Carolina-based crews traveling to French Broad EMC and Haywood EMC territories to assist with rebuilding and repairs. A total of 470 North Carolina co-op power restoration personnel have mobilized this week to help fellow electric co-ops here in North Carolina, as well as in South Carolina and Georgia.

Irma-related outages for Florida co-ops peaked at nearly 760,000, according to NRECA. An additional 382,000 have been reported by co-ops in Georgia, and South Carolina reported 52,110 outages yesterday morning. Approximately 5,000 cooperative workers from 25 states are deploying to the hurricane’s impact zone to assist with restoration efforts.

Co-op trucks are staged on high ground to begin restoring power in the service territory of Sumterville, Florida-based SECO Energy. Photo by SECO Energy.

“Hurricane Irma was a historic storm and utilities are coordinating a historic response. Mutual aid crews from across the nation are converging on the hurricane’s impact zone,” said NRECA CEO Jim Matheson. “This restoration effort is an all-hands-on-deck effort made possible by cooperation among cooperatives.”

Aiken Electric Cooperative (SC), for one, received help from both Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative and Roanoke Electric Cooperative. “We had sustained wind and rain for about 16 hours,” said Aiken Electric Co-op Marketing Director Muriel Gouffray. “Wind gusts up to 50 mph, flooding and large trees toppling from all the moisture in the ground.” The co-op has reported all service restored after a peak 8,000 outages.

As of this morning, Florida reported 424,000 remaining outages; Georgia reported 210,000; South Carolina reported 13,000; and North Carolina electric co-ops reported 4,800 remaining outages, mostly affecting Transylvania and Jackson counties.

More coverage of restoration efforts is available from