Lenoir, North Carolina – (July 11, 2016, 3 pm Update) – Battling massive amounts of downed trees and debris to rebuild a large portion of the cooperative’s power system devastated by Friday’s powerful storm, over 100 linemen with Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation and visiting crews from five cooperatives have outages down from 18,000 to 94 as of 3 pm Monday.
The outages are in 16 different locations and line crews are on each location, working to restore all power by this evening. These locations include western Watauga County including areas in Sherwood, Peoria, Old Hwy 421, Mable and Broadstone Road areas, and the Nickanor community in Ashe County.
In addition to being an unusually powerful and devastating summer storm, another unusual factor was limited availability of assistance. “The storm affected much of the state and caused severe outage situations for other utilities, which led to having fewer additional resources available to us,” said Doug Johnson, chief executive officer of Blue Ridge Electric. “We are very grateful to the visiting crews from French Broad, Rutherford, Jones Onslow, Central, Piedmont and Edgecombe Martin cooperatives who are assisting our linemen staff in getting power restored as quickly and safely as possible,” said Johnson.
If you are the only household in your neighborhood without power, Blue Ridge Electric advises you to call the cooperative’s PowerLine at 1-800-448-2383 and report the outage even if you have already done so.
Members are also advised to stay far away from downed power lines as they can still be energized and dangerous, even deadly! Members are asked to report downed power lines and their location by calling any local Blue Ridge Electric district office to speak to a member services representative.
Outage updates and other helpful information is available on the cooperative’s social media sites at: www.facebook.com/blueridgeemc and www.twitter.com/blueridgeemc. For safety tips and other information including views of the cooperative’s social media pages, please visit the website at www.BlueRidgeEMC.com.
Blue Ridge Electric serves some 74,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Wilkes, Avery and Alexander counties.
Visiting crews from Jones-Onslow Electric Membership Corporation in Jacksonville, NC, assisting Blue Ridge Electric in final restoration efforts Monday in Watauga County.
Crews working as neighbors watch final restoration efforts to their homes in Watauga County (photo submitted by Blue Ridge Electric member Veronica Roser McCullough).