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Hurricane Michael Restoration Press Release — Thursday, October 18, 2018

October 18, 2018

Wiregrass Electric Cooperative made tremendous progress on its seventh day of restoration efforts by bringing its total outage number to 286 members.

The 225 linemen helping to restore power worked late into the evening on Wednesday and again before daylight on Thursday to restore the remaining members.

“We are so proud of the effort by everyone on Wednesday,” says WEC Chief Operating Officer Brad Kimbro. “We have made great progress every day but Wednesday was a very good day for us. Our goal will be to make just as much progress on Thursday and get power restored to all of our members.”

As of Wednesday, WEC had recorded almost 500 broken poles on its system following Hurricane Michael and they will definitely find more while continuing the restoration effort.

“We will have 500 broken poles on our system which equals about 50 miles of power lines,” Kimbro says. “That’s the distance from Dothan to Troy. This has been a massive project and we could not have done this without the help from our contractors and sister cooperatives. We have 20 of the 22 Alabama electric cooperatives on our system helping us. That is what being in a cooperative is all about. We are extremely grateful to them and they know that if they ever need assistance that Wiregrass Electric will be there for them.”

Once the restoration effort is complete, WEC will still face months of cleanup.

WEC also wants members to know that if they have damage to the member side of the meter to call 1-888-469-6882 once your repairs have been made.

WEC wants to remind members that the 2018 annual meeting will continue as scheduled on Friday but will be an abbreviated version of the normal meeting. This year will have no food, games or entertainment like they normally have and it will be held in the community room at the main WEC office in Hartford.

Registration will be from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. If members have already participated in the mail-in balloting process then there is no reason for them to come. If members have not registered and voted then they are welcome to come to register, vote and then leave.

The meeting will be brief and will follow the agenda laid out in the WEC bylaws. Because WEC is a member-owned cooperative the bylaws require an annual meeting be held.

The meeting will be broadcast live on Facebook Live for members not in attendance.

“We are disappointed that we can’t have our normal annual meeting festivities but with this massive restoration effort our warehouse is not in a condition to host the event,” Kimbro says. “Our annual meeting is an important yearly event that brings our cooperative family together. It’s also a huge undertaking for our employees who work on this meeting months in advance. We feel it’s important to concentrate our efforts on getting 100 percent of our membership back online.”

WEC also wants to thank its members for their patience and understanding throughout this week.

“We have the best members a cooperative could ask for,” Kimbro says. “The prayers, words of encouragement and patience and understanding have been unbelievable. Our members are the reason for everything our cooperative does. They are the reason that everyone involved in this restoration process has worked 18-hour days and that’s to restore power back to our members. We are very close to doing that and we will not stop until that goal is reached.”

For live updates that include updated outage numbers, videos and photos of the restoration effort visit WEC’s Facebook page.

As of 6 a.m., WEC had the following outage numbers:

Columbia Substation — 164 members (16 percent out)
Cottonwood Substation — 75 members (4 percent out)
Limestone Substation — 13 members (8 percent out)
Ashford Substation — 19 members (0.01 percent out)
Webb Substation — 3 members (0.18 percent out)
Rehobeth Substation — 8 members (.38 percent out)
Slocomb Substation — 1 member (.01 percent out)
Baysprings — 1 member (.12 percent out)
Brannonstand — 1 member (.04 percent out)
Hartford — 1 member (.12 percent out)

System Total Outage — 286 (Down from 18,000)