Lenoir, North Carolina – (July 13, 2016) – After the most destructive storm to hit in seven years—winter or summer—linemen restored the final members without power Monday evening at 8 p.m. following a 3-day effort to reach and repair a large portion of the electric system.
At the height of the outage, 18,000 members were affected, most of which were in Watauga County, the area most devastated by the storm.
Over 100 linemen with Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation and visiting crews from five cooperatives repaired 342 areas of system damage to restore power.
In addition to being an unusually powerful and devastating summer storm, another challenge to storm restoration was limited availability of assistance. Chief Executive Officer Doug Johnson said “We were very fortunate to get the crews who came because this storm impacted much of the state and many utilities had tough outages and could not send linemen to help.”
Johnson gave appreciation from Blue Ridge Electric’s sister cooperatives who helped from French Broad, Rutherford, Jones-Onslow, Central, Piedmont and Edgecombe Martin cooperatives. He also expressed appreciation for the contractor crews who assisted from: Sumter Utilities, MB Haynes Corp., Pike Electric, Carter Utility Tree Service, Asplundh Tree Expert Co., Arbor Metrics Solutions, and Utility Vegetation Management.
“All the line technicians worked very long hours in some very treacherous conditions to restore power as quickly as possible for our members,” said Johnson. “I appreciate each and every employee who had a part in any way in the restoration efforts. And I want to say thank you to the members for your understanding and many kind, encouraging words over the course of the outage.”
For storm safety tips and the online outage map, please visit the cooperative’s website at www.BlueRidgeEMC.com. 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.
Blue Ridge Electric serves some 74,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Wilkes, Avery and Alexander counties.