More than 110 lineworkers from North Carolina’s electric cooperatives traveled to Alabama in September to help restore power to thousands of people who were left in the dark because of Hurricane Sally.
Halifax EMC, along with ten other North Carolina electric cooperatives: Albemarle EMC, Blue Ridge Energy, Brunswick Electric, Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative, Central Electric, EnergyUnited, Four County EMC, Lumbee River EMC, Pee Dee Electric and Piedmont Electric assisted Baldwin EMC in restoration efforts. Baldwin EMC, Alabama’s largest electric cooperative, had nearly 78,000 consumer-members without power.
“It’s part of the culture of cooperatives to support each other in times of need,” said Farris Leonard, manager of Job Training and Safety for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, who traveled with crews to Alabama. “In North Carolina, we are no stranger to hurricanes, and we’re grateful for the efforts of cooperative crews that have worked alongside us after storms. We’re proud to support each other and serve cooperative members.”
Reports of downed trees and power lines, broken power poles and flooding came in from across Baldwin EMC’s service area. Because of the extensive damage, including damage to transmission lines that feed substations, Baldwin EMC cautioned its members to prepare for prolonged outages.
“We don’t want to sugarcoat this; we’re in it for the long haul,” the co-op said on Twitter.
To ensure safety, North Carolina’s electric cooperative crews took the same expanded, pandemic-related measures that they have been taking. These included working in smaller groups with increased physical distancing, limited sharing of equipment and stringent cleaning and disinfection practices.