Local electric crews help with hurricane cleanup
by Staff Writer
AHOSKIE – The electric cooperative network in North Carolina fosters a sense of kinship.
And Sunday, Aug. 28, after Hurricane Irene blew through the eastern part of the state, 25 men from EnergyUnited packed up and headed east to Ahoskie to help out crews at Roanoke Electric Cooperative.
Electricities, which serves Huntersville and Cornelius, also sent line and bucket trucks and a four line crew members to Wilson to help with repairs, according to Craig Norfolk, electric systems manager for ElectriCities.
Roanoke Electric provides power in Hertford, Northampton, Bertie, Gates and Halifax counties in northeastern North Carolina.
Robin Phillips, coordinator of communications for Roanoke Electric, said more than 13,000 of their members lost power when the storm hit.
“We had real, substantial damage in all areas, and the worst of it was in Bertie, Northampton and Gates counties,” Phillips said.
The wind blew trees and lines over, blocking access to roads, snapping poles and knocking out power. “A lot of our poles broke – they snapped like toothpicks, which was amazing to me,” Phillips said. Crews from both companies have been working 14-hour days since then.
“We’re still working on it. We’ve still got about 11,000 without power,” Phillips said Tuesday morning. “Hopefully they’ll knock a big dent in that soon.” She also said all power should be back on by the end of the week, and according to the company’s website, only about 3,800 members were without power early Wednesday afternoon.
“We’ve had to wait for the water to subside so we can go in and clean up debris and get trees off the lines,” Phillips said.
Crews at Roanoke Electric were grateful for the help from EnergyUnited, she said.
The EnergyUnited men have helped out by pulling lines, cleaning up, getting trees off the lines and putting poles back up. “They’ve been doing everything our guys have been doing,” Phillips said. “They are so sweet. I talked with some of them, and they’re really nice people, really nice.”