It will be two or three days before power is restored to all SCE&G customers in the Midlands, but some in the Lowcountry may be in the dark until the end of the weekend, the company said Tuesday.
“We’re working 24 hours a day and we’ll continue to work 24 hours until the very last person’s power is restored,” said Keller Kissam, the utility’s senior vice president of retail operations.
The peak of the outages occurred at 4:35 p.m. Monday as the outer bands of Hurricane Irma sliced through South Carolina.
Eventually, 155,000 SCE&G customers were without power, Kissam said, and 66 percent of them were in Charleston and Beaufort counties. More than 100,000 of the statewide customers had power by Tuesday morning, Kissam said.
In the Midlands, nearly 50,000 customers of SCE&G and the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina were without power at one point. That number had dropped to 13,000 SCE&G customers and 3,572 Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative customers by noon Tuesday.
The outages were caused by trees and limbs brought down by wind gusts of up to 50 mph. Two SCE&G linemen were injured making repairs, but the injuries were not life threatening, Kissam said.
Kissam said that any South Carolina crews that were sent to Florida to work on lines there have been replaced by more crews from states like Illinois and New York.
“And they will stay here until released by us to go,” he said.
In addition to utility line crews, the S.C. National Guard also has a heavy presence to help in the recovery.
“Right now we have over 1,200 soldiers and airmen on duty supporting South Carolina in response to Irma,” Guard spokeswoman Lt. Col. Cindi King said Tuesday.
▪ About 30 members of the 132nd Military police company from West Columbia are assisting law enforcement in the Lowcountry with security.
▪ The 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade from Charleston deployed six water distribution vehicles and assisted in transporting 70 individuals for a shift change at the Roper St. Francis hospital in Charleston Monday night.
▪ About 560 Guard soldiers were deployed to Florida as general purpose troops to assist in checking on citizens and communities and to assist in evacuations from flooded areas.
Adjutant Gen. Robert Livingston said residents should be aware and patient with military transports and emergency vehicles of all types as the recovery continues.
“You’re going to be seeing a lot of movement of emergency crews to include the national guard,” he said.
Despite the outages, flooding and high winds, Kissam said the western creep of Irma’s path helped the Palmetto State dodge a bullet.
“We were blessed,” he said.. “If it came up the east coast of Florida it would have been devastating.”
S.C. power outages
S.C. utility companies reported the following outages as of 5:45 p.m. Tuesday.
Electric Cooperatives of SC: 23,161
Duke Power: 600+
Santee Cooper: 0