Tideland EMC Outages Near 20,000

Aug 27, 2011, 12:03 ET from Tideland EMC

PANTEGO, N.C., Aug. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Approximately 20,000 homes and businesses served by Tideland Electric Membership Corporation in a six county area are currently without power. Due to high call volumes the public is asked to report emergency situations to Tideland EMC at 252-943-3046 or 800-637-1079. Please do not call the cooperative at this time to obtain power restoration estimates. We do not anticipate making significant progress on repairs before Sunday or Monday.  The co-op will not dispatch damage assessment teams until weather conditions allow for a safe work environment.

The co-op's earliest outages began in Pamlico County Friday evening followed by widespread problems in mainland Hyde County. A significant wind event near the Walter B. Jones Bridge in Hyde County damaged two of the cooperative's steel transmission poles. Those poles were built to withstand in excess of 130 mile per hour winds. Repair efforts were ultimately called off late Friday night when work conditions posed a hazard to utility crews.

Ocracoke Island's electric service performed well through the night but conditions rapidly deteriorated this morning and power was eventually lost at 5:00 a.m. The co-op's Washington substation lost power at 6:15 a.m.  

Progress Energy reports a downed transmission line that provides service to Tideland EMC south of the Pamlico River. As a result, electric service has been lost to all Tideland members in Pamlico and Craven counties and in southern Beaufort County.

Power restoration activities will take days, not hours. Tideland EMC doubled its manpower ahead of the storm and has repair crews staged at hotels in Plymouth and Washington who are ready to begin work once conditions allow. Additional crews are on standby that would effectively triple the co-op's workforce if damages dictate such measures.

Tideland EMC reminds all consumers that back-up generators can be deadly when not properly operated. Never hook a generator to household wiring without a properly installed double pole, double throw transfer switch. Never refuel a generator when the engine is running and allow the unit to cool before adding gas. To avoid electrocution or carbon-monoxide poisoning, ground the generator properly and operate in a dry, well ventilated area.

During a wind event, it is not unusual for the consumer owned meter base to be damaged, especially when the utility service entrance is located overhead. Power cannot be restored to the location until the consumer has made the proper repairs and obtained a new county electrical inspection approving the work. Flooded structures must also be inspected before power can be reconnected.

Tideland EMC is a member-owned distribution cooperative serving 22,800 accounts in Hyde, Beaufort, Pamlico, Dare, Washington and Craven counties.

Meters Off By County (preliminary numbers)

Dare County 780

Washington County 540

Beaufort County 8,524

Hyde County 2,671

Craven County 2,859

Pamlico County 4,442