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Nav Location: SEC Home  >   About Santee Electric  >   News and Press  >  Restoration update Feb. 17, 2014

 

Restoration update Feb. 17, 2014

Article was added on Monday, February 17, 2014

More than 300 line workers helping to restore power at Santee Electric Cooperative-aim to fully restore power by Wednesday 

KINGSTREE, SC-In the aftermath of a historic ice storm described as "devastating" by Governor Nikki Haley, more than 300 additional line workers are now assisting power restoration efforts at Santee Electric Cooperative (SEC). Although service has been restored to more than 30,000 members, crews are working overtime to restore electricity to more than 14,000 consumers.

"We know we have members who are extremely anxious to see their lights come back on," said Floyd Keels, president and CEO of Santee Electric Cooperative. "We certainly understand their frustration and want them to know that every employee at Santee Electric is working-- in some way-- to help restore power for everyone.

For a wide swath of South Carolina, including the territory served by Santee Electric, the 2014 winter storm delivered as much damage to power systems as Hurricane Hugo in 1989. At the height of the storm, more than 350,000 people in South Carolina did not have electricity.

"State officials, from Gov. Haley on down, have worked every day to provide us every help we've requested," says Keels.  "We now hope to have most power restored no later than Friday."

Line crews from more than 7 states are now working to restore power at the cooperative. To maximize the use of employee resources, Santee Electric Cooperative has closed their district offices in Lake City, Georgetown, Hemingway and Manning. Many of those employees are now working at the co-ops' main office in Kingstree which is open to the public and is serving as command central during the restoration process.

Even though district offices are closed for normal business, drive thru windows may be used to report outages beginning Tuesday morning and members can reach a representative of Santee Electric Cooperative at the following toll free numbers:

  • 888-239-2300

    Or

  • 800-922-1604

    Consumers can also keep up with the latest information by going to the SEC's website at www.santee.org.

"I want all of our members to know we take this process personally," said Keels. "Many of our own employees and their families are still without power. All I can ask is that you please be as patient as possible and understand we won't stop working until the power is back on."

Hampering efforts to restore power are geography and terrain.  Santee Electric comprises one of the largest geographic territories of any electric co-op East of the Mississippi River. SEC provides power to some of the state's most rural areas-serving portions of Clarendon, Florence, Georgetown and Williamsburg counties. Low-lying wetlands, swamps and dense forests are all impediments for line crews working in the field.

                                                                                               

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Power line repair example 

The damage repair challenge for power systems can vary widely by type of weather situation, type of damage caused, and the individual situation at the specific repair site. However, I thought it might be helpful to provide you an illustration. 

So, whether used for publication/broadcast or simply for your internal understanding, we have prepared this general example, for illustration purposes only, of a scenario of line repair in an ice storm.

Consider a situation where multiple spans are damaged. A span is a length of conductor wire between two poles.

  1. The weight of ice on trees or the wire itself breaks the wire and/or poles.

  2. The tension on the wire as it breaks may pull it the distance of two or more poles - the length of a football field for each span of wire between two poles - 300 feet.

  3. The repair crew arrives. It may be a bucket truck or it may be line workers who are climbing the poles with gaffs (an apparatus worn on the lower leg).

  4. If a pole or poles have been broken, simply removing the 400-pound broken pole, re-digging a hole, and setting a new pole can take as much as 45 minutes per pole.

  5. The ice must be broken off the wire for the entire span being repaired.

  6. The line workers must pull the broken wire back into place.

  7. A new span of wire is put in place and connections between existing and new wire spans are made.

  8. The wire is connected to the pole-top transformers.

  9. The service wires (that go from pole to home or business) must be re-strung and connected.

  10. The line must be re-energized by manually closing the circuit in the field (at the fuse, main line or substation)

This time-consuming and multi-part process can add up to many hours for only a few spans of wire. Then in a frustrating and not uncommon turn of events in an icing situation, another section of that same power line can later break because of the weight of ice on nearby lines or trees. 


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