WASHINGTON, Oct. 9, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nearly 30,000 workers are dedicated to restoring electricity to the approximately 1.2 million customers of EEI member companies still without power in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.1 In total, more than 3.2 million customers of EEI member companies were impacted by the storm. About 61 percent of those customers have had their power restored so far, and affected companies continue to make progress.
"While Hurricane Matthew has gone out to sea, conditions remain hazardous in many locations," said EEI President Tom Kuhn. "In some communities, flooding and downed trees have made roads impassable, creating challenges in the effort to assess damages. As is always the case in restoration, our companies' initial priorities will be safety and restoration of critical services, while they assess the overall damage to energy infrastructure."
Companies affected by the storm, and the mutual assistance crews assisting the restoration effort, continue to work around the clock to restore power as safely and efficiently as possible. The industry's mutual assistance networks are activated, and company requests for restoration workers have been met at this time.
"The mutual assistance network is truly a hallmark of our industry," said Kuhn. "I would like to thank all of the restoration workers for their hard work and dedication. I also know that affected companies appreciate the support and patience of their customers during this time."
For safety reasons, customers are urged not to approach electric company workers or contractors in a work zone as they make repairs. Customers who see downed power lines should assume they are energized, stay away from them, and contact their local electric company. In flooded areas, customers should avoid standing water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
In some cases, customers may not be able to receive power to their homes because of the damage caused by high winds or flooding. Many local codes require that a licensed electrician or plumber do any repair work or that a city or county inspector check the system before power can be restored. Customers should not touch damaged equipment and should contact a licensed electrician if their meter box, pipes, or wires are bent or broken. If the meter itself is damaged, restoration workers will replace it.
Customers should also be aware that scammers and cyber criminals are targeting victims of Hurricane Matthew, and should be on the lookout for suspicious emails and criminals impersonating electric company representatives.
EEI's Storm Center includes a map to company outage centers, as well as real-time information and updates on safety tips and restoration progress.
EEI is the association that represents all U.S. investor-owned electric companies. Our members provide electricity for 220 million Americans, operate in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and directly and indirectly support more than 1 million jobs. EEI has more than 70 international electric companies as International Members, and 270 industry suppliers and related organizations as Associate Members.
1 Outage numbers will vary as customers' service is restored. These numbers are gathered in real time by EEI's outage tracking tool, and are current as of 7:15 p.m. EDT on October 9, 2016.
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SOURCE Edison Electric Institute