Live Updates: SCE&G reports record power usage

01/06/2014 6:28 PM

03/21/2014 11:24 PM

4 p.m. Update

Hyatt Park warming station to remain open

The City of Columbia is keeping its public Hyatt Park “Warming Station” open through noon Thursday.

The station at Hyatt Park (950 Jackson Avenue) is a courtesy service provided by the City of Columbia in order to provide a warm, comfortable environment for persons or families who may find that they need access to additional heating sources during the freezing temperatures.

The station will be open around the clock during the operations period.

3 p.m. Update

SCE&G reports record usage

Record cold temperatures across South Carolina on Tuesday led SCE&G electric customers to set a new record for power usage in a single day.

Customers used 101,118 megawatt hours of electricity over the 24-hour period. The previous high mark of 98,785 megawatt hours was set Aug. 10, 2007.

8 a.m. Update

SCE&G reports no outages in the Midlands

SCE&G reports there are no outages in the Midlands, and there are only three outages within the entire service area.

7 a.m. Update

Overnight low of 15 recorded

The National Weather service reports the overnight low of 15 was recorded shortly before 7 a.m./dawn.

6:25 a.m. Update

Snow/Ice on roadway advisory

A snow/ice roadway advisory was issued for Percival Road in Richland County and Brockington Drive in Forest Acres.

5:45 p.m. Update

SCE&G: Unplug nonessential appliances, devices

SCE&G, which expects energy demand to remain high tonight and Wednesday, asks customers to conserve energy by unplugging nonessential appliances and devices.

The utility says demand between 6 and 9 p.m. Tuesday and 6 and 9 a.m. Wednesday "will help lessen the stress on our electric system and reduce the potential for outages. Thank you for your continued patience and understanding during this unprecedented situation."

2:05 p.m. Update

Delayed starts announced for Wednesday; some schools start day without power

At least nine Midlands school districts will repeat a two-hour delayed start Wednesday for students, based on expected low temperatures again in the teens.

Students in Lexington 1 should report two hours later than normal schedule. Staff should report at regular time.

Students and staff in Lexington 2, Lexington 3, Lexington 4, Lexington-Richland 5, Newberry County Schools, Richland 1, Richland 2 and Kershaw County Schools should report two hours later than normal schedule. Bus routes will also be delayed by two hours.

In Lexington-Richland 5, Wednesday's delayed start for high school students has been cancelled. High school students should report two hours later than they would on a regular school day.

Tuesday's cold temperatures resulted in problems for other Midlands schools, which were operating on two-hour delayed starts Tuesday.

In Richland 1, spokeswoman Karen York said seven schools experienced full or partial power outages, though all were back online by late Tuesday morning. The district did not cancel school at any of the affected sites, which included Brennen, Watkins-Nance, Satchel Ford, A.C. Moore and Rosewood elementaries, St. Andrews Middle and Lower Richland High. But parents who arrived at schools when the power was out were able to take their children back home and drop them off at school again, once power was restored, York said.

In Lexington 2, a few buses broke down while going to pick up students in the Cayce-West Columbia areas, but others were re-routed to make most pick-ups on time with minimal waiting outside, assistant superintendent Jim Hinton said. Lexington 3 and Lexington 4 also had some bus problems.

Power was out briefly at Lexington 2's Pineview Elementary as students arrived before the start of classes, the result of rolling blackouts, Hinton said. But power was restored after 20 minutes.

Some school districts were considering Tuesday whether to put students on a delayed start Wednesday, with morning temperatures once again expected in the teens.

Richland 1 announced that after-school programs set for Tuesday and Wednesday are cancelled. Those cancellations include after-school comprehensive remediation programs, athletics tutorial programs and child care programs. The cancellations do not include after-school athletics.

1:50 p.m. Update

Final student wanted to stay at A.C. Moore

Six-year-old Alexis Jimenez was probably the last student out of A.C. Moore Elementary School today after a morning power outage prompted parents to pick up their children.

Alexis, accompanied by her father Gustavo Jimenez, said her classroom was chilly when she arrived in the morning. But she said she likes school so much she would have stayed.

Now, she said, "I will stay at home because it is freezing outside."

By the time she exited the building with her father, Gustavo Jimenez, at noon, power was restored to the school on Rosewood Drive and six other Richland 1 schools that experienced temporary power outages.

But the district had alerted parents to the problem and many parents chose to take their children home from school.

1:45 p.m. Update

Power restored early at DeKalb Elementary

Also, in Kershaw County, power was restored to Baron DeKalb Elementary School before 7:30 a.m. this morning.

The two-hour delay helped officials inspect the buildings for such outages before students arrived in the later morning.

1:35 p.m. Update

Stranded motor assists increases dramatically in past 24 hours

The South Carolina Highway Patrol reports that the number of stranded motorists who have been assisted has increased from 187 to 618 in the past 24 hours.

12:45 p.m. Update

Cold snap delays and cancels flights in and out of Columbia Metropolitan Airport

Getting in and out of Columbia Metropolitan Airport will be tricky for fliers today as the extreme cold snap continues to delay and cancel flights around the country.

At midday Tuesday, the airport had five incoming flights delayed by up to nearly two hours and one coming from Atlanta canceled altogether.

Two outgoing flights -- to Atlanta and Detroit -- also were canceled, and one coming in from Charlotte was delayed by more than an hour.

Fliers should check the arrivals and departures board at for flight information.

12:20 p.m. Update

SCE&G says mechanical failure, high demand and wind-related damage contributed to power outages

SCE&G says a mechanical failure, combined with high demand and wind-related damage, contributed to the power outages in the Midlands this morning that affected 51,000 customers at its peak.

At an 11:30 a.m. news conference, officials said the mechanical failure occurred when equipment was frozen, just as demand was increasing in the early morning hours.

Reserve power didn't compensate for the loss of power elsewhere.

An automatic system kicked in rolling blackouts, the first the utility has done in its history.

High and gusty winds overnight played a part, too.

School districts, already delaying arrivals for students, had to deal with blackouts throughout the morning, but by noon schools were all back online.

Tonight, when temperatures again are expected to dip below 20 degrees, "sideline" heaters will be used to keep equipment from freezing. Customers shouldn't have the same problems.

By Joey Holleman and Betsey Guzior

12:10 p.m. Update

The city's overflow shelter opens after emergency shelter reaches full capacity

The city's overflow shelter opened at Hyatt Park after the emergency shelter's 220 beds were at full capacity Monday night and an expected 240 beds were at capacity Tuesday night, said emergency shelter director Kerry Breen.

Registration for the shelter has been extended at Hope Plaza, at the corner of Main and Calhoun streets from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.

“We’re trying to encourage the homeless to come to the shelter and take advantage of the services being provided,” Breen said.

He said free meals, soup and hot chocolate are some of the sustenance offered.

Breen said the shelter has increased staff and a lot of volunteers have come to help. Anyone who wants to volunteer can call the volunteer coordinator at 687-8713.

By Cassie Cope

Noon Update

SCE&G apologizes to parents

SCE&G, which has restored power to all area schools and has called off rolling blackouts, apologized this morning to parents for children being sent to schools without power.

"You sent sent your kids off to school this morning expecting them to be warm, and we let you down," an SCE&G spokesman said.

By Joey Holleman

11:30 a.m. Update

Heat is out at West Columbia animal shelter

Pets Inc. a no-kill shelter in West Columbia had propane issues on Monday that carried over into Tuesday.

Andy Moore, who works in the front office said inside it felt like the heat was not working and he said it felt around 60 degrees inside.

Heat was out in the kennel where larger and older dogs are kept, Moore said. Donations of blankets or any kind of bedding or towels are welcome, he said.

About 25 dogs have been fostered out because of the cold, he said.

At least 75 dogs remain on the grounds overall, he said.

If someone wants to foster a dog they can go to Pets Inc., he said.

Pets Inc. is located at 300 Orchard Drive, West Columbia, SC 29170

By Cassie Cope

11 a.m. Update

Record low temperatures set Yes, it's that cold.

The official daily record for Columbia, measured at Columbia Metropolitan Airport, will be 13 degrees, breaking the mark of 16 set in 1924. That's only the 84th time in 125 years that Columbia has been 13 or below, according to the Southeast Regional Climate Center. The last time Columbia hit 13 was Jan. 17, 2009.

The wind chill at the airport reached 1 degree earlier in the day, but the wind had tapered off by the time the coldest temperature arrived.

Colder temperatures were measured around the Midlands: 8 in Newberry and Batesburg-Leesville, 9 in Pelion, Aiken and the Cedar Creek area in northern Richland County and 11 in Irmo and McEntire Air National Guard Base in eastern Richland County, according to the National Weather Service.

By Joey Holleman

More updates:

Rolling blackouts planned

Bundle up: Deadly cold strikes Midlands

8 a.m. Update

In the meantime, here are tips for dealing Columbia's frigid weather for the next 48 hours:

• DO Consider placing heavy curtains (or afghans/throws in a pinch) over windows during the coldest hours If you have a cold and drafty house.
• DO Let a little water trickle from your hot and cold faucets overnight. Drain garden hoses outside and cover outdoor taps.
• DO Have plenty of water for pets. Keep them indoors.
• DO Wear several light layers, hats and mittens, rather than gloves.
• DO Watch out for black ice on the roads, especially in the morning.
• DON’T Use heaters meant for outdoor use indoors.
• DON’T Place indoor space heaters around any combustible material, including bedding or curtains.
• DON’T Use the stove as a heating source.

Editor's Choice Videos

Join the Discussion

The State is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service