Cooperative: Damage is equal to Hurricane Hugo

Published: Feb. 14, 2014 at 4:53 AM EST
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After a crippling winter storm struck the lowcountry, some people are comparing the damage to the destruction left behind after Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

"An ice storm is worse than a hurricane," Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative CEO Bob Paulling said. "With a hurricane, the storm blows through, does its damage and it's gone. An ice storm is like a hurricane followed by a series of mini-hurricanes. You restore power to an area, but then the ice comes back and the same area goes down again."

The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina reports that more than 133,000 of its customers in the state were without power, as of 10 p.m. Thursday evening.

"The amount of damage we have here is equal to Hurricane Hugo," Edisto Electric Cooperative President and CEO David Felkel. More than 80 percent of their customers lost power.

Coastal Electric Cooperative, which services Walterboro, is reporting damage of historic proportions. They must fix 50 broken utility poles. Previously, a hurricane broke 21 poles.

"That gives you an idea of the magnitude of the repair job they have ahead," The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina President and CEO Mike Couick said.

The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina reports that Berkeley Electric customers may not have power until the middle or end of next week. Restoring power to Coastal and Edisto Electric customers may be a "two to three week process."

After the category-4 Hurricane Hugo hit the lowcountry in 1989, some people were without power for weeks.

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