By Paul T. Choate
Oct. 29, 2012. With the arrival of the snow and high winds from Hurricane Sandy, many in the area have been experiencing power outages. Both Blue Ridge Electric and Mountain Electric (BREMCO) are currently doing everything in their power to keep everybody’s lights on.
According to Renee Whitener, BREMCO director of public relations, as of 2:40 p.m. on Monday, 10 different locations had been affected since midnight. This resulted in 225 BREMCO members in Watauga County experiencing power outages.
As of 2:40 p.m., all 225 affected by outages had power again. As of 3 p.m. on Monday, the BREMCO outage map on their website is reporting one Watauga member affected currently by an outage.
“Certainly our linemen are very much on high alert and will be working as long as needed,” Whitener said.
Whitener also said BREMCO is bringing in 20 linemen from Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation, a sister co-op, to assist with the problems associated with the winter storm.
As for in Avery County, “We have had very little outages at this point,” said Mountain Electric Cooperative District Manager Danny Cuthbertson. Cuthbertson said Mountain Electric experienced problems with two single phase power lines that had resulted in outages for about 30 customers in Avery County earlier today, but that those lines had already been fixed.
Cuthbertson said that although crews will be off work at 4:30 p.m. today, they will be on standby throughout the night and will be responding to calls if and when they come in.
Whitener said that, depending on the damage, outages could take as short as 20 minutes or as long as five hours to fix. She said in the case of a broken pole, for example, it would certainly take longer to fix than just a single line. She also cautioned that when lines are snapped and fall to the ground, it is important to stay away from those lines because they could still be carrying a charge.
If you see a downed power line, call 800-451-5474 in Watauga or 828-733-0159 in Avery.
To report an outage, call 800-448-2383 in Watauga or 828-733-0159 in Avery.
To view BREMCO’s outage map, visit bremco.maps.sienatech.com.