Rappahannock Electric Cooperative
REC Expects Most Members To Have Power By Sunday Evening
Nearly 50% of members impacted have been restored
Fredericksburg, Va. – Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) anticipates that the vast majority of members impacted by Wednesday's snowstorm will have their power restored by the end of the day Sunday. The damage caused by the unusual March storm prompted Virginia's governor to declare a state of emergency in Central and Northwest Virginia, areas that make up the heart of REC's service territory. By the time the storm had moved north of Virginia, 70,000 of REC's members -- almost half of the homes and businesses served by REC -- were in the dark.
After deploying the largest number of pre-staged crews ever used by REC, Rappahannock more than doubled its work force. "We were extremely well prepared for this event. Pre-planning helped us restore service to nearly 50% of our members within 24 hours of the peak of the storm," said Tim Martin, vice president of operations and construction. "For times like these, cooperatives have a strong, mutual aid agreement for helping one another with crews and equipment." stated Martin. With assistance from cooperatives in seven states, as far away as Georgia, and additional help continuing to arrive, crews will continue to work around the clock until power is restored to all members.
The extensive damage to REC's system was primarily the result of heavy wet snow clinging to trees, especially evergreens, causing them to break and fall onto poles and power lines. Crews are now forced to navigate and remove that debris before they can begin making repairs. That work is made especially difficult in the areas that received more than a foot of snow where linemen can only access the damage on foot or with specialized heavy equipment.
REC reminds everyone that safety is a concern. Maxie Rozell, REC's director of safety and security says, "With so many members relying on a portable electric generator, please make sure it is not connected directly to household wiring. Power from generators can back feed along power lines and electrocute anyone coming in contact with them, including line workers making repairs."
REC provides electric service to over 157,000 connections in parts of 22 Virginia counties. With its general office in Fredericksburg, Va., Rappahannock manages more than 16,000 miles of power lines through its service area, which ranges from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the tidal waters of the Chesapeake Bay. For information about REC, please visit www.myrec.coop.