LENOIR, NC (Sept. 13, 2017) – Having been spared the worst of Hurricane Irma’s effects, which have left millions without power, Blue Ridge Energy today dispatched 21 line technicians to a fellow Georgia cooperative devastated by effects of Hurricane Irma and five to heavily damaged Haywood EMC in western North Carolina.
Blue Ridge Energy crews will arrive late Wednesday to begin assisting Rayle EMC which serves 10 counties in northeast Georgia. Nearly 12,000 of the cooperative’s 16,000 members are without power as of earlier this week.
Blue Ridge crews are arriving this morning to help Haywood EMC, which serves an area west of Asheville including the counties of Haywood and parts of Jackson, Transylvania and Macon. Out of the co-op’s 27,000 members, 9,000 without power yesterday and extensive damage to the system is hampering restoration.
“First, I want to express appreciation to our line technicians for their great work in restoring power to our Blue Ridge members this week,” said Blue Ridge Energy Chief Operating Officer John Coffey. “Our linemen take a lot of pride and honor in helping each other in times of need,” Coffey continued. “We’ve had crews come to help Blue Ridge throughout the years, most notably during the 2009 ice storm that devastated half of our 7,000 miles of power lines and poles, and led to days of outages. The extra assistance makes a huge difference during a crisis and we’re honored to be able to help others in their time of need.”
Coffey continued: “As part of a national system of almost 1,000 electric cooperatives across the nation, using a consistent protocol for linemen operations and safety, cooperatives help each other in times of need. We’re very thankful that our system was not as heavily damaged as first anticipated and that all power is restored for Blue Ridge members. I want to also thank the families of those linemen who will be away from home, as well as our linemen who are answering the call to help others,” he added.
Each Blue Ridge Energy District office continues to have crews in place working on regular system duties and are on call for any member needs that arise while those assisting in Georgia and NC are away. Blue Ridge Energy contractor crews are also available.