Linemen of Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation worked throughout the night, restoring outages caused by high winds damaging powers lines from the effects of Hurricane Sandy in northwest North Carolina.
Winds, and damage to the electric system, picked up around 11 p.m. Outages were scattered across all counties in Blue Ridge Electric’s service area but areas of concentrated outages also occurred where several entire circuits serving communities were affected. Overnight, linemen repaired damage to the electric system, restoring power to:
· Ashe County: where 2,017 members were affected, primarily in the Baldwin community and on Hwy 163.
· Watauga County: 1,908 members were affected, primarily in Vilas.
· Alleghany County: 893 members were affected, with concentrations in Pine Swamp and Chestnut Grove.
· Caldwell County: 49 members were affected, with several in the Patterson community.
Even with a strong right-of-way maintenance program to protect power lines from trees and limbs to maintain reliable electric service, extremely high winds in this storm brought down trees and limbs outside of the right-of-the-way onto power lines, leading to outages.
Today, linemen and all employees remain in high alert emergency response mode and are working to restore a final few outages remaining this morning. Conditions are being assessed this morning, and assisting linemen from sister electric cooperative Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation and other utilities are on standby to help restore power today if needed. If outage conditions don’t require additional assistance, visiting line technicians will be dispatched to areas further north where the hurricane has hit harder, causing significant damage and leaving millions in the dark.
Blue Ridge Electric reminds members to report all outages to the cooperative’s PowerLine at 1-800-448-2383.
The cooperative also reminds the public to be aware of the dangers of downed power lines, which can still be energized and cause serious injury or even death. No one but a trained line technician should handle or be near a downed power line. Report downed power lines to a cooperative employee by calling any local Blue Ridge Electric office or toll free: 1-800-451-5474.
To view a live outage map at any time, visit www.BlueRidgeEMC.com and click on the “outage map” link located on the bottom right hand side of the screen. More safety and preparation information is also available in the “Storm Room” at www.BlueRidgeEMC.com.
Information can also be found on Blue Ridge Electric's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/blueridgeemc.