REC begins recovery effort

Published 9:29 am Sunday, August 28, 2011

As of 6 a.m. Sunday, Roanoke Electric Cooperative’s (REC) operation crews have been dispatched to begin restoring power to the over 13,000 members currently without power.

The crews have started assessing system damage brought by Hurricane Irene’s impact.   Preliminary assessments indicate that the effort may take days to restore power to all active accounts on the system.

“Our first priority is to address public safety by working closely with transportation and emergency operation crews in order to make roads passable,” said George Price, vice president, engineering and operations.   “Many of our crew members have been inhibited early due to trees lying across roads, debris, etc.”

Additional crews from other cooperatives in North Carolina are en route and should be in the area this afternoon to assist with the effort.   REC officials advise the public that this team will be working to restore service as quickly as possible.  The restoration process generally involves performing repairs at any substation that may be completely out, primary and secondary lines on the system, medical facilities and individuals on life-support, and individual services.

“If service has been restored in your neighborhood, then chances are there is an individual problem with your service and that information will need to be reported,” said Marshall Cherry, Vice President, Member Services and Marketing.  Roanoke Electric Cooperative’s outage number is 1-800-358-9437.

Finally, REC wishes to advise that outages that occur in severe weather, or that last for an extended period of time, can place a heavy burden on the system at the moment power is restored. To prevent an overload on the system and possibly another outage, take these steps:

Turn off every inside light except one.

Increase your thermostat setting.

Turn off all unnecessary appliances.

Avoid opening the freezer door.  A full, freestanding freezer will keep food at freezing temperatures about 2 days; a half-full freezer about 1 day.  For more information about food safety during and after a power outage, call the county office of the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service, or dial the USDA Food Safety Hotline at 1-800-535-4555.

If you see a downed power line, STAY AWAY!! And call Roanoke Electric Cooperative at once!

Leave your porch light on so Roanoke Electric Cooperative workers will know when your power has been restored.

When power comes back on, slowly switch your appliances and lights back on and gradually return your thermostat to its normal setting.

Roanoke Electric is a non-profit electric utility serving more than 14,300 members in parts of seven counties.