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Hurricane Michael Restoration Press Release — Tuesday Night, October 16, 2018

October 16, 2018

Wiregrass Electric Cooperative finished its sixth full day of restoration efforts with 1,731 members without power. They began the day with 2.596 members without power.

“Our crews had another great day, but they are beginning to work on single phase lines,” says WEC Chief Operating Officer Brad Kimbro. “Single phase lines take just as much time and men to restore as a three-phase main feeder line but it may only restore power to 10 members when it’s finished being repaired. So, you may see outage numbers fall at a slower pace than in the first five days of this process.”

WEC has every resource available working to restore power.

“In total, we have 207 outside men helping our WEC lineman crews and support staff,” Kimbro says. “We have an additional 145 vehicles and equipment on our system in addition to our WEC fleet and equipment. Along with additional warehouse workers, engineers and mechanics. We are doing everything in our power to get every member’s power restored and we will not stop until we do that.”

WEC released a new outage map on Tuesday afternoon to give members an estimated timetable of when their power would be restored.

The map is broken up into three colors — blue, green and red. The green areas are expected to have power restored by Saturday, October 20 and the red areas are expected to have power restored by Sunday, Oct. 21. The red area includes Limestone, Cottonwood and Columbia which were some of the hardest hit areas by Hurricane Michael.

“This map is designed with the best possible outcomes and it is an estimate,” says Kimbro. “Some members power will be restored later than predicted and some will be restored sooner. We definitely expect many members to be restored sooner than predicted. We are doing this so our members can make preparations.”

Kimbro also stressed that its difficult to know which substation serves an individual member so giving specific outage times for members would be very hard to do.

“Some of these areas still have a lot of damage.” Kimbro says. “We are doing everything we can to get power restored following this storm. We appreciate our members’ patience and also their kind words and prayers. It has meant a lot to our employees and the outside workers who are here helping us.”

WEC will provide an updated map each day with estimated outage time.

As of 4 p.m., WEC had the following outage numbers:

Columbia Substation – 388 members (40 percent out)
Slocomb Substation – 7 members (.01 percent out)
Burch Pond Substation – 3 members
Limestone Substation – 360 members (13 percent out)
Ashford Substation – 21 members (0.01 percent out)
Cottonwood Substation – 909 members (53 percent out)
Rehobeth Substation – 16 members (.01 percent out)

System Total Outage – 1,731 (Down from 18,000)

Click here to view a video slideshow of the damage our line crews are having to deal with.

Changes to 2018 Annual Meeting

In light of the massive restoration effort, WEC has decided to make changes to its annual meeting format.

The meeting will still take place on Friday, Oct. 19 but will be a quick abbreviated meeting.

“If members have already voted through our mail in process then they do not have to attend,” says Kimbro. “If members have not voted then they can come register and vote and then they may leave.”

The meeting will be moved from the warehouse location where it is normally held to the community room of the Hartford office.

“The warehouse where we normally hold the meeting will not be in a condition to have the meeting due to our active storm restoration efforts and safety concerns for members and the public,” says Kimbro.

Because WEC is a member owned cooperative the bylaws of the cooperative require that WEC hold an annual meeting.

Registration will be from 10 to 11:30 a.m. The business portion of the meeting will begin at noon with the agenda laid out in WEC’s bylaws. The business meeting will be brief and will be broadcast live on Facebook Live for members not in attendance.