More than 110 lineworkers from 11 of North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are traveling to Alabama today to help restore power to thousands of people who were left in the dark because of Hurricane Sally.
Upon arrival, the North Carolina co-op crews will support Baldwin EMC, Alabama’s largest electric cooperative, in efforts to restore power to 78,000 consumer-members. The North Carolina cooperatives sending crews include: Albemarle EMC, Blue Ridge Energy, Brunswick Electric, Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative, Central Electric, EnergyUnited, Four County EMC, Halifax EMC, Lumbee River EMC, Pee Dee Electric and Piedmont Electric.
“It’s part of the culture of cooperatives to support each other in times of need,” said Farris Leonard, manager of Job Training and Safety for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, who is traveling with crews to Alabama today. “In North Carolina, we are no stranger to hurricanes, and we’re grateful for the efforts of cooperative crews that have worked alongside us after storms. We’re proud to support each other and serve cooperative members.”
Reports of downed trees and power lines, broken power poles and flooding have been coming in from across Baldwin EMC’s service area. Because of the extensive damage, including damage to transmission lines that feed substations, Baldwin EMC has cautioned its members to prepare for prolonged outages.
“We don’t want to sugarcoat this; we’re in it for the long haul,” the co-op said on Twitter.
To ensure safety during this time, North Carolina’s electric cooperative crews will implement the same expanded, pandemic-related measures that they have taken here. These include working in smaller groups with increased physical distancing, limited sharing of equipment and stringent cleaning and disinfection practices.
North Carolina’s 26 electric cooperatives collectively serve approximately 2.5 million people in 93 of the state’s 100 counties. For more information, visit ncelectriccooperatives.com.