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Energy companies prepare for Hurricane Dorian

Source: 
Aiken Standard

Sep. 3--As Hurricane Dorian approaches the South Carolina coast, power companies are preparing for the storm and encourage customers to do the same.

Dominion Energy has made preparations for its more than 21,000 miles of transmission and distribution power, according to a news release.

"We anticipate that Dorian could bring heavy rain and flooding as well as severe wind, which could cause significant outages for our customers, especially in coastal areas," Keller Kissam, Retail and Electric Operations president, said.

According to a news release, Dominion Energy has approximately 2,000 employees and contract crew members, including linemen and damage assessors, ready to respond to power outages.

Dominion Energy has also brought in 140 off-system crew members to support restorations efforts and could potentially call on several hundred more if necessary.

Kissam said Dominion Energy customers also can prepare by signing into their accounts at DominionEnergySC.com and ensuring contact information is up to date.

Customers can also monitor and report power outages quickly and easily online through a mobile device.

Kissam said major storms can cause tree limbs and entire trees to break and fall, sometimes taking power lines and even meter boxes down with them.

"Always assume any downed power line you see is live and stay away," Kissam said.

Customers of Dominion Energy can report a downed line by calling 888-333-4465.

Storm preparations are underway and will continue Wednesday as South Carolina's electric cooperatives brace for potential damage from Hurricane Dorian.

According to a news release, electric cooperative power crews in Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia and Arkansas will assist South Carolina co-ops should the need arise. Twenty line workers from Kentucky will leave home Wednesday morning on their way to Black River Electric Cooperative in Sumter.

"As soon as it appears a storm will affect our state, we activate a long-standing, formal agreement known as a mutual aid agreement among the state's cooperatives and with multiple surrounding states," said Nick Adams, director of compliance at the state association of electric cooperatives. "We're in contact with a number of nearby states and have crews ready to roll as soon as a cooperative requests assistance."

The mutual aid agreements -- which specify the previously determined terms of assistance -- reassure local electric co-op operations directors that they will have the help they need, the news release states.

"The basic plans for disaster response are always up to date," said Adams, who coordinates repair crew needs among cooperatives. "So, several days out from a storm, we initiate conference calls among the co-ops in this state and among state co-op coordinators like me across the Southeast."

Aiken Electric Cooperative, Inc encourages it's customers to report outages by calling or texting "OUT" to 877-264-5368 and to monitor the company's outage map which is available at www.aikenco-op/outage-information/.

Aiken Electric Cooperatives also encourages customers to visit their website to provide up-to-date contact information.

Matthew Enfinger is a general assignment reporter with the Aiken Standard. Follow him on Twitter: @matt_enfinger

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(c)2019 the Aiken Standard (Aiken, S.C.)

Visit the Aiken Standard (Aiken, S.C.) at www.aikenstandard.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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