Record demand reported as 950 Hilton Head homes lose electricty

info@islandpacket.comJanuary 7, 2014 

About 950 homes on Hilton Head Island lost electricity shortly before 10 a.m. Tuesday morning and SCE&G implemented rolling blackouts, as the region grapples with record low temperatures.

About 950 homes on Hilton Head Island lost electricity shortly before 10 a.m. Tuesday morning, as the region grapples with record low temperatures, according to Palmetto Electric Cooperative.

The power outage hit the Folly Field area after temperatures in the teens contributed to a circuit failure, said Jimmy Baker, vice president of marketing and public relations. Crews were still at the scene about 11 a.m. working to restore power, he said.

Other minor transformer failures cut power to a few homes on Hilton Head Island and in Jasper County, Baker said.

The outages came just as Palmetto Electric Cooperative set an all-time record for energy demand: from 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., the company hit 467 megawatts of demand, Baker said.

That was about 10 percent higher than its previous peak of 420 megawatts, set Dec. 14, 2010.

"We were expecting a record based on the forecast," Baker said. "I don't know that we were expecting a 10 percent increase. ... but we're proud of the way the system held up during this extreme cold."

High demand also caused SCE&G to lose part of its generating capacity and implement rolling blackouts, according to a news release. Customers in some areas may lose power for no more than 15 minutes, the release said.

The company urged residents Tuesday to turn off and unplug non-essential appliances to conserve energy.

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