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Utility companies continue ‘wait and see’ with Matthew

Energy
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This is an updated shot of Hurricane Matthew as it approaches the Florida coast. Utility crews across South Carolina continue to prepare for potential damage caused by the storm. (Photo courtesy of NOAA)

Utility companies across the state are continuing their preparation plans as Hurricane Matthew moves from the Bahamas to the East Coast.

Officials with Duke Energy, Santee Cooper and South Carolina Electric & Gas said they are monitoring all of the forecast models and keeping abreast of the potential impact to the Lowcountry and Midlands.

“We don’t yet know whether Hurricane Matthew will impact South Carolina, but we’ll be ready to respond if it does,” said Bill Turner, SCE&G’s vice president of electric operations, in a statement.

Santee Cooper line technicians prepare for Hurricane Matthew. (Photo by Paul Zoeller, Santee Cooper)Santee Cooper officials said their transportation and distribution crews continue to stock and fuel line trucks and other fleet vehicles. Thursday afternoon, the utility moved to Category 2 status – meaning “potential disaster-causing conditions are approximately 24 hours away and adverse effects to Santee Cooper’s service area appear likely.”

“Utility personnel are monitoring developments and will have crews positioned for quick response based on the projected storm path and damage to our system,” the company said in a news release. “Additional crews are being brought in to assist with tree removal and system restoration.”

 

Upstate coverage of Hurricane Matthew

 

Around the state coverage

Duke Energy officials said they are continuously tracking the potential path of the storm and developing constant forecasts to help for planning and preparation.

Officials said they have a storm response plan and they are checking their equipment, supplies and inventory.

“We’re continuing to watch the forecast and are making plans to send resources where they will be needed,” said Ryan Mosier, Duke Energy spokesman. “As the forecast track of the storm continues to evolve, so do our plans.”

To report outages:

Santee Cooper: Report power outages and monitor restoration online at stormcenter.santeecooper.com or by calling 1-888-769-7688.

SCE&G: By text: Register for SCE&G’s text option online at www.sceg.com. Login to your account and look for the "Activate Text Options” under the "Account Options” feature and then follow the instructions. Once you are registered, if you are experiencing an outage, simply text the word "OUT” to 467234 (gosceg). By phone: 1-888-333-4465.

Duke Energy: Customers can text OUT to 57801 to report an outage from their mobile phone. Be sure to use the mobile phone associated with your account. To stay informed of future power outages, sign up to receive power outage alerts from Duke Energy by texting REG to 57801 or choose from text, email or phone alerts by enrolling at duke-energy.com/OutageAlerts. Duke Energy Carolinas customers can also call 1-800-769-3766 while Duke Energy Progress customers can call 1-800-419-6356.


AT&T said it has started its storm preparedness process to monitor Hurricane Matthew. According to a news release, AT&T has topped-off fuel at generators positioned at cell sites, and installed and tested high-capacity back-up batteries at cell sites.

"Customers rely on us, especially during major storms," said Pamela Lackey, AT&T South Carolina president, in the release. "That's why we practice readiness drills and simulations through the year. We do all we can to have our networks prepared when severe weather strikes. We've worked for the past few days to position equipment and crews to respond to the storm. We're closely linked with South Carolina public officials in their storm response efforts. With a storm of this size, we may have some outages. But if service goes down, we'll do all we can to get it back up as fast as possible."

AT&T has also improved the network redundancy in storm-prone areas. It has installed more generators at critical cell towers and switching facilities, and moving electronics key to network operations above expected flood levels.

Reach Matthew Clark at 864-720-1222.

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