Since Hurricane Michael hit Southeast Alabama power supply companies have been working from early in the morning until late at night to restore power to the most devastated areas.
Although thousands of custmers of Alabama Power, Wiregrass Electric Cooperative and Dothan Utilities have power restored, recovery could flow into next week for some customers.
Alabama Power public information representative Linda Brannon said 83,000 customers were affected at the height of the storm. Currently, power has been restored to most customers, however, just over 11,000 locations have yet to be serviced.
“I would say that the most devastation from our territory was over in Ashford and that area. A lot of pole and wires were down and we had damage to our transmission system. When we evaluated the area, pole after pole was snapped, and some of those poles take longer to repair than others,” Brannon said.
Brannon added that linemen have been working every day from 6 a.m. until about 10 p.m. since the storm hit. She said despite hours of pre-planning, the hurricane damaged a larger area than anticipated.
“We spent hours assessing the storm and developing a plan of action. We had crews waiting out in Montgomery and Phenix City waiting to come in after the storm hit. But how a storm hits is unpredictable, so immediately after, we spent more time assessing the damage and creating a new plan with the resources we had,” Brannon said.
The following Alabama Power customers by county without power are as follows:
Houston County: 7,000
Henry County: 3,000
Dale County: 75
Barbour County: 700
Geneva County: 500
Wiregrass Electric Cooperative chief operating officer Brad Kimbro said progress to restore power has been slow due to the location of many customers and precisely how the storm hit them. JHowever progress is being made. At the beginning of the storm, 18,000 homes were without power, and Kimbro said the company has reduced that number to just over 13,000.
“It’s like a small bomb went off, I mean putting poles and power lines in took years and the storm destroyed that in a matter of hours,” Kimbro said. “Our employees are doing the best we can to get this power restored. It’s going to be slow in some areas and could take until Monday or Tuesday, perhaps longer, but that’s our best estimate right now.”
The following Wiregrass Electric Cooperative customers by county without power are as follows:
Houston County: 9,605
Henry County: 25
Dale County: 47
Geneva County: 3,293
Coffee County: 413
“Every one of our members without power, we know about it and we have absolutely not forgotten about you. We are addressing it as fast as possible. Just because you don’t see our trucks or linemen right by our house, doesn’t mean we don’t know about it and not working on that outage. The problem could be miles down the road that’s affecting you,” Kimbro said.
Together, the companies have brought in a combined total of 842 linemen and contractors from outside of their normal service areas to help restore power to the area. Both Brannon and Kimbro hope customers will be patient and know that their area is being assessed and their power will be on as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, Dothan Utilities posted the following update Friday:
Less Than 12,000 currently without power.
This is going to be a big day for Dothan Utilities and Public Works-We are mobilizing major tree clearing crew efforts in Garden District along Choctaw Substation Circuits. Stay away from these crews-important! We have a very large workforce throughout City and Working to restore power to feeders-stay away from these crews-important!
Monument Sub-Assessed areas for scheduling of work in this area on Adams, College, N. St Andrews, Lena, Montana, Chickasaw, and Range (two circuits)-working small areas now.
Haven Sub-Continue work tomorrow on Selma St., 6th Ave., 3rd, and S. Alice St. Crew to complete and then move to Monument Sub next.
Hodgesville Sub-Working Circleview and South of Wayne Rd. Will work Cloverdale next.
Choctaw-Continue work on RCC main lines (08-25, 08-26, and 08-27). Working everything outside Circle and along Westgate areas now. Major tree removal efforts underway inside circle today. We enable power restoration access and work. There is major damage and access issues-this are will take a lot of time.
West Carroll Sub-Working S. Park and Taylor Road areas and then will move to Stonebridge next (major damage in Stonebridge area).
Flynn Sub-Tree Crew working on trees on lines-431, North of Westgate.
Miscellaneous Small Areas-Work is planned throughout City on miscellaneous areas.
Contract and Mutual Aid:
Contract Tree Trimming Crews