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Superstorm Sandy Did a Number on Local Power Lines; Thousands Lose Power Throughout the Course of Storm

By Paul T. Choate

BREMCO crews work to restore power during the effects of Sandy. Photo submitted

Oct. 30, 2012. What was once Hurricane Sandy – and is now being referred to as Superstorm Sandy – caused many in the High Country to be without power for an extended period of time over the course of the past few days. 

According to Renee Whitener, Blue Ridge Electric (BREMCO) director of public relations, 5,837 members, including 2,750 in Watauga County, were affected by the winter storm as of 4 p.m. on Tuesday. As of 4:30 p.m., 16 members are still without power in Watauga County. The damage included broken power poles and downed power lines in more than 100 locations in Watauga, Ashe, Wilkes and Alleghany counties.

“Most of the outages occurred in Ashe and Watauga counties,” Whitener said. “Linemen have worked throughout the day in high winds and snow resulting from Hurricane Sandy to restore power for several hundred members of Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation.”

BREMCO crews were assisted today by Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation, a sister cooperative from the coast of North Carolina.

Though nowhere near the number affected in Watauga County, Mountain Electric Co-Op was faced with outages in Avery County as well. 

According to Tim Phillips, chief staking engineer with Mountain Electric, 700 members in Avery County faced outages during the storm. He said around 70 members are still without power and added that Mountain Electric is currently working to fix any outages that remain. 

Whitener said BREMCO linemen and other employees remain in “emergency response mode” as work continues restoring power to High Country residents. 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.

Additional images
Photos submitted