Crews from Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC), which serves the largest share of households in Louisa County, and contractors and vegetation management teams worked through the night to repair damage and restore service to thousands of member-owners who lost power in yesterday’s winter storm.
At the peak, more than 21,000 member-owners were without power around 10 p.m. yesterday. As of 8 a.m., just over 14,500 REC member-owners remained without electricity.
Freezing rain, sleet and heavy wet snow accumulation on trees, along with wind and saturated soil, caused limbs and whole trees to fall onto power lines. The ice and saturated ground is also making accessing and repairing damage difficult. Linemen have had to haul their gear into remote rights of way, where they climbed poles manually to make needed repairs.
Outages are currently concentrated in Culpeper, Orange, Fauquier, and Spotsylvania counties, with 250 known events, including several major circuits (power lines serving hundreds of members). Additional outage events will likely be discovered as main lines are repaired and damage is discovered on lines serving smaller communities and individual homes. The full extent of damage is not yet known.
To assist with outage restoration, REC requested mutual aid from neighboring electric cooperatives. They responded and 28 line workers are on the way to join the REC workforce to assist with restoration efforts. This includes 18 line workers from Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative, 4 line workers from Northern Neck Electric Cooperative and six line workers from Prince George Electric Cooperative.
REC and mutual aid crews will continue their work today and will not stop until all service is restored.
“Safety is our top priority,” said Casey Hollins, director of communications and public relations for REC. “The crews will continue their efforts, working as quickly and safely as possible to restore all service.”
REC urges member-owners to keep safety in mind, as well. Stay clear of any downed power lines and avoid anything that might be in contact with those lines. Always assume a downed line is energized, and call REC.
For more information about REC, please visit www.myrec.coop.