North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives Respond to Hurricane Dorian

North Carolina’s electric cooperatives spent the past week preparing for and responding to the first major storm to impact our state during the 2019 hurricane season.

After making its way north along the North Carolina coast, Hurricane Dorian made landfall over Cape Hatteras at 8:35 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 6. Cooperative crews had been closely monitoring the storm as it made its slow approach, and were ready to respond to the power outages it left behind.

On Thursday, Sept. 5, crews worked to bring power back to about 5,000 members who experienced outages from tornadic winds in Brunswick and Carteret counties.

A bucket truck view by CCEC Lineman Jeff Starnes of the damage from a twister that came onshore Thursday, Sept. 5 in Emerald Isle.

Peak outages occurred on Friday morning at about 9 a.m., when approximately 94,000 cooperative members in southeastern North Carolina were without power. By 4:30 p.m. Friday outages had been reduced to 46,000, with the bulk remaining in Hyde, Beaufort and Dare counties, and by Sunday morning that number had dropped substantially to fewer than 4,500.

A lineman from Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative works above floodwaters.

“Crews made remarkable progress given the treacherous conditions they faced following this storm, particularly in areas with substantial flooding,” said Mike Burnette, senior vice president of power supply and chief operating officer of North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. “We thank our crews and employees for their hard work, and all the affected cooperative members for their patience and support as we worked to restore power as quickly as possible.”

Crews from Brunswick Electric respond to Hurricane Dorian.

An army of co-op crews from across North Carolina and the nation, along with contractors, joined co-op personnel in affected areas to assist with restoration efforts in a true demonstration of the principle of cooperation among cooperatives.

A crew from Haywood EMC traveled east to South River EMC to assist in ongoing power restoration work.

On Monday, Sept. 9, as day turned to night, darkness turned to light with the restoration of electric service on Ocracoke Island, one of the areas most impacted by the storm. Flooding on Ocracoke Island reached historic levels and water inundated many businesses and homes.

A Lee Electrical lineman restores power on Ocracoke.

North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives have activated the Human Connections Fund, which allows cooperative employees to make financial contributions that directly benefit co-op employees and members who were impacted by Hurricane Dorian in North Carolina. Donations are being accepted through Wednesday, Sept 25.