SCE&G hopes to have timetable for power restoration by Tuesday

SCE&G hopes to have timetable for power restoration by Wednesday
Keller Kissam, SCE&G president of retail operations. (Source: Live 5 News)
Keller Kissam, SCE&G president of retail operations. (Source: Live 5 News)
SCE&G worker repairs line off Highway 61 (Source: Live 5)
SCE&G worker repairs line off Highway 61 (Source: Live 5)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The president of retail operations for SCE&G says they will be able to give an estimated time of restoration per county by Tuesday.

As a ballpark figure, he said those in Charleston, Colleton, and Dorchester counties could see their power on by the end of the week. Beaufort County could see power restored by early next week.

"This was a natural disaster," said Keller Kissam, SCE&G president of retail operations. "The response however is man-made. We will do our best to ensure that we meet the needs of our customers who will move forward and overcome this devastation."

Right now there are roughly 3,000 people working within SCE&G to get power restored.

Of that number the company has 1,000 off-system workers in the area to help. They've come as far as Texas, Oklahoma and Mississippi to assist.

The biggest issue workers are dealing with are downed trees and traffic, according to SCE&G.

"There are a lot of people that want to return to the coastal area to review their businesses and homes," Kissam said. "Traffic is very difficult."

While those are just a few of the obstacles, Kissam added his team is working around the clock to get resident's lives back to normal.

"To those customers who remain without power, I want to say I'm sorry," he said.

Crews are working more than 14 hours per day trying to restore more than 100,000 customers in the Lowcountry.

"You will see some of the larger blocks, neighborhoods, homes and businesses and higher populated areas come back on," Kissam said. "Then you get into some rural areas where you see a single line may run for a half mile and may only serve one home."

"[We've been without power] two days," said Evan Leever, of West Ashley. "We just got back last night and we had to start up the generator."

Generators could be heard humming throughout West Ashley neighborhoods.

Homeowners have been busy trying to clean up the mess Matthew made, all while going without power.

"I'm trying to get the generator to work," said Jim Tolley, of West Ashley. "I've been keeping ice for our frozen foods because I don't want to end up having a shrimp fest for the neighborhood."

Tolley says they've had some power outages in the past, but nothing this long, even during Hurricane Flloyd.

Some people have found the power outage to be refreshing. Leever has stayed away from the television and video games.

"It's kind of nice to get away from that and do something different for a change," he said.

Leaders with SCE&G said thousands of outages have been reported in Beaufort, Charleston, Colleton and Dorchester counties, which is where they're trying to focus their efforts.

As of Saturday afternoon, nearly 300,000 customers -- including SCE&G's and other utilities -- were without power.

By Sunday morning, that number had dropped to roughly 220,000, and then down to about 170,000 by Monday morning. Utilities across the Lowcountry have warned it will take time before all customers are back online given the damage Matthew caused.

Berkeley Electric Co-Op

Hurricane Matthew left roughly 67,000 customers without power Friday into Saturday.

As of 8 a.m. outages were reported at nearly 30,000, meaning crews restored more than 38,000 outages since late Saturday night.

Berkeley Electric has almost 400 in-house, out-of-state and contract crews working 16 hour shifts around the clock to restore power to homes and businesses.

Based on the current conditions, the company anticipated 95% of the outages will be restored by Thursday.

For a current list of power outages click here.

Santee Cooper Electric

A spokesperson who Santee Cooper Electric says as of 3 p.m. Monday, the company had restored more than two-thirds of its transmission outages across the state and nearly three-fourths of its retail customers who lost power during Hurricane Matthew.

Areas affected including Edisto, Coastal, Tri-County and Marlboro cooperative. Crews are still working on lines serving Berkeley, Santee, Horry, Black River, Pee Dee and Palmetto cooperatives.

"As our crews move through the restoration area, we are finding a massive number of trees on power lines, broken power poles and equipment that is broken or under water," said Arnold Singleton, senior vice president of power delivery for Santee Cooper. "The loss of power creates hardships for everyone, and I understand that people are frustrated. Our crews will continue to give 110 percent until the job is done."

At the peak of Matthew's aftermath, leaders said 137,000 Santee Cooper customers were without power, more than twice the number who lost power after Hurricane Hugo.

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