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Wiregrass Electric Cooperative begins seventh day of efforts

Matt Boster

Viewed: 2263

Posted by: Matt Boster
Date: Oct 17 2018 2:17 PM

HARTFORD, Alabama — Wiregrass Electric Cooperative began its seventh day of restoration efforts following Hurricane Michael with less than 1,000 members without power. As of 6 a.m. on Wednesday, the crews began work with 924 members without power.

A week ago, Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle and brought historic wind speeds to the Wiregrass. Michael’s wind brought many trees down, broke approximately 500 power poles and left 18,000 WEC members without power. In a week, WEC has restored power to 96 percent of the members who were affected, but more work is still to be done. “We made great progress yesterday, and we have been making great progress every day since the storm hit our area,” said WEC Chief Operating Officer Brad Kimbro. “Our area has not seen a storm of this magnitude in a long time and maybe ever.

We’ve seen 80 to 100 year old trees brought down by the winds from this storm. It was historic.” WEC released an updated map with estimated outage times for WEC members on Wednesday morning. The map is broken up into three colors — blue, green and red. The green areas are expected to have power restored by Saturday, Oct. 20, and the red areas are expected to have power restored by Sunday, Oct. 21.

The red area includes Limestone, Cottonwood and Columbia which were some of the hardest hit areas by Hurricane Michael. WEC has enlisted the help of 207 linemen from outside the cooperative to come and assist with restoration efforts. The linemen are from WEC’s sister cooperatives from around the state as well as contract crews and right of way crews.

On Tuesday, 30 additional men in right of way crews came to assist WEC with its efforts. WEC also has additional engineers, mechanics and warehouse workers helping with the efforts. “We had approximately 500 power poles broken from the storm, which is roughly equivalent to 50 miles,” Kimbro said. “That’s the distance between Dothan and Troy.

We could never have made the progress we have made without the outside help we have received. Everyone who has helped us has been fantastic, and we are so grateful for everything they have done.” WEC is also appreciative of all the positive words and prayers they have received from WEC members over the last seven days.

For live outage updates on outages, please visit As of 6 a.m., WEC had the following outage numbers:

Columbia Substation — 270 members (27 percent out)

Slocomb Substation — 5 members (.01 percent out)

Burch Pond Substation — 3 members Limestone Substation — 234 members (8 percent out)

Ashford Substation — 21 members (0.01 percent out) Cottonwood Substation — 354 members (53 percent out)

Rehobeth Substation — 13 members (.01 percent out) System Total Outage — 924 (Down from 18,000)

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